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Ning Brings Social Networks to the Masses

February 28th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ning has re-launched with new functionality to make it drop-dead simple for just about anyone to create their own social network. We have spent the last couple of days playing around with the system. To start your very own social network, just sign up and follow a few simple steps. The basic features are all there; layout customization, RSS feeds, forums, member profiles, blogs, videos, images, etc. You can even add widgets and embeds; this is where it excels as you will see later.

This new release actually allowed us to execute on a project that we’ve been planning for a long time. We just never had to time to develop a social network from the ground up. With Ning, we don’t have to. We can let Ning handle all of the technical issues, which will allow us to focus on developing the social network itself. Check out our Ning social network. It will especially interest you if you are a hockey fan.

Our New Social Network on Ning: Center Ice

Our Center Ice hockey network is a bit of a mashup. It’s obviously built on the Ning platform, but it includes additional value add content via the use of widgets. The default RSS feed feature parses the NHL Plays of The Week content perfectly from YouTube. Daily game scores are provided by SpringWidgets Scoreboard. And surprisingly, Ning allows javascript on their system. We have taken full advantage of this and added full game videos using the Google AJAX Search API.

Center Ice also provides three methods of communication among its members. The default forum from Ning is provided for asynchronous group communications and a live real-time video chat room is powered by Stickam. Couple of the StickiWidgets services provides the glue that binds the Ning platform with Stickam. Lastly, each member can add a personal blog to their profile page for member centric communications.

The question is, “Will anyone care?” For the average person, they just want something there that they can be a part of. They are not going to care about the platform or putting the work into creating the social network. However, Ning does provide people like us with the ability to easily build these networks. And ultimately, it’s up to us to bring the users to the network. We applaud Ning for building a system that is easy to use, customizable and open to widgets.

Does it have limitations? Sure. But, not everyone wants to take on the task of building and maintaining the technical infrastructure to run a social network. We are more than happy to accept that trade-off. Now we just need users. So if you’re a hockey fan… Check out Center Ice.

If you are interested, Ning also has a developer program and premium services.

Update (2007.3.2): added Grazr and some hockey news feeds

  1. March 1st, 2007 at 18:01 | #1

    Nice job on center Ice.

    I’ve been playing with Ning for a while and have been very impressed. Thanks for grabbing the scoreboard for the site. Good luck!

    -Don (from SpringWidgets.com)

    p.s. Great site by the way.

  2. March 1st, 2007 at 21:56 | #2

    Don, thanks…

    We just put the pieces together. Couldn’t have done it without services like Ning, SpringWidgets, YouTube, Google, Stickam, etc… And, of course the NHL.

  3. March 2nd, 2007 at 14:01 | #3

    Hi — thanks for trying Ning — please let us know if we can help with anything. You can reach us at ceo at our company name dot com.

  4. March 2nd, 2007 at 22:33 | #4

    Marc, thanks for dropping by. Glad to see those in charge taking a hands on approach.

    We’ll definitely let you know if anything comes up. Center Ice is starting to take shape and we hope people actually like it and use it.

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