We all know about MySpace by now. (If you find yourself in the minority, well, you are an insect living under a very large and heavy rock.)
Recently, I came across yet another social networking site called Ning. I’ve only just joined, but what seems to set Ning apart from MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Hi5, etc. is that the focus is on social networks as a specific (online) entity. MySpace and the like are in general, social networks, but how well do they unite people on specific platforms?
MySpace and Facebook are individual-specific. MySpace encourages users to personalize their pages, which is probably one reason (among others) teens are addicted to it. Now Facebook is in the personalization game, offering various applications for users to add (i.e. Moods, which allows users to display their current mood).
Of-course, creating or joining groups on both of these sites is possible. However, it can become an inconvenience when you belong to several groups and are finding it difficult to keep up with each group’s comments, discussions, etc.
Ning makes it simple. In a clear, navigable design, you can easily view the main page, your profile, members, discussion forum, photos, and more. The focus is not on you, the individual, but the shared interest/idea behind the group. True discussion — interaction and communication is the emphasis here.
The group I just joined is on, what else? Planning. See Plannersphere.
By the way, Faris Yakob, strategist and “digital ninja” at Naked Communications, created this social network.