This is probably a really stupid question. Once upon a time when I logged into Ning I had a list of the NING groups I belonged to show up on the screen. Now there's only the one I started. Where can I go to find the groups I belong to without having to have them all saved/bookmarked etc.
And one other thing...being only a Mini and not very clever when it comes to codes, ccs etc how do I know when you clever people are talking about things I can take back to my group? I'm thinking that a lot of you are mostly Pro's and Plus creators?
Hey, Lainie. This discussion might help. We removed this two years ago, along with Ning ID.
That is not a stupid question!! Thank you for asking.
For the sake of clarity, the term "groups" better describes the Groups module that Ning network creators can apply to their "networks". I bet that is what you meant when you said groups, and I will say networks to mean the same thing, O.K.
There were a number of privacy controls implemented by Ning to support the vocal majority of whitelabel creators.
It looked to me like Ning found it easier to just wipe these off the board, and that supports the interest of a lot of creators who want their sites to appear more proprietary and unrelated to the platform. However, I question the underlying logic. Some aspects I liked. Other aspects not so much. I do not feel that my interests were represented in the decision. Ning did have some surveys around that time, but I thought they were asking the wrong questions in the wrong way. They also had some development workshops, but these were not for me at the time either.
Given how the privacy is by default now, I think Ning could bring a lot of the value back by making the directory an opt-in, the personalized directory and opt-in (to display only those networks that have opted-in to the open directory), and to provide and make more clear the option to unlock the profile question that has your network address.
Finally, with regard to being a Mini, I prefer that plan for my purposes right now too. I think there will be a time when I upgrade, but I hope I don't have to climb any learning curve for codes, css, etc. One of the primary values I see in the platform is not having to be a code wizard. I intentionally keep my site simple both for the web-usability experience of my visitors, but also to mitigate against the impacts of change for myself. As you can see from the forum, the more complex you make it the more you spend lots of valuable time chasing down how to do it and fix it. For the most part, I don't find most of the tricks impressive as improvements to sites, but even Mr. Potato Head enjoys having his options. I'm looking forward to exploring customizations available on upgrade such as sliders, splash pages, and sign up redirect to profile. I think most of the options you see here are directed at plus and pro users, but I'm always happy to discuss how to make best use of what you've got with mini.
Like Anthony, I'm not sure if you meant "networks" instead of "groups", but he's outlined reasons why this was discontinued. When Ning networks were connected, it allowed other network creators to join other networks, add friends on that network, then invite them en masse to their network. Basically, everyone was stealing members from other nc's.
I, for one, am grateful that horrible idea has been forever scrapped.
Thanks for the link Eric.
I truly appreciate your replies and my questions are answered. Thanku very much Media Ninja :D and Patrick. I'll take these back to my Group oops Network and share.
Patrick, I remember days just like that in MSN, it happened numerous times so I understand.
By the way Ninja, although I understand about members leaving networks in droves to join another I would very much like that opt in directory. Would suit me and a lot of my members to a T! It's a great idea.
Well I think that's the undelying logic why it's not a feature anymore. People actually did go around raiding and the hard part is getting a committed membership base. So with white label you didn't have to let on that you were one of hundreds of thousands of networks and that anyone could set up a site just like you. Then with the privacy by default, you couldn't find Nings or their members even if you wanted to. The benefit of this is you can put in all this work to come up with a proprietary site, all the hard work in originating your membership from scratch, and not be so paranoid.
The logic is flawed though. It's called satisficing and sub-optimization...basically how someone can look to buy a red truck and walk away with a blue car. You could almost imagine Ning addressing the loudest complaints just so they could keep enough creators on board with plus and pro. Cross-networking capability was encouraged by the platform as part of a deeper understanding of Web 2.0 and Open Social philosophies. Proprietary control and practice of exclusion were all concepts traditional business models were clinging onto. It's people saying that "without this secrecy someone will steal my ideas, do better, and steal my members". People that really want to will find your ideas and steal them anyway. Yes, you can make it harder for them and a lot less likely, but it's also an innevitability in my opinion. The key is to actually be better. Enbrace change and be ahead of the curve. Be so innovative that even if people are out there trying to reverse-engineer what you diod yesterday, that can't keep up with where you are today, or where you will be tomorrow. Be just completely awesome to your people. They'll stick with you. I have nothing to hide and not afraid of anything- especially the internet.
Anyways, I've adapted too. So I really don't care what Ning does with this. Go back to the open social and I benefit. Don't go back and I'll turn that into an advantage. The most important thing is not to depend on them to stick with any particular approach because they're a company with a lot of pressures and subject to dramatic changes from time to time.
The old model only served those with lots of money and resources. For someone like me who, years ago, barely knew the basics of web 2.0, HTML, etc., having someone with a team of extremely talented people working with them made my task nigh impossible. This is exactly what happened to me then (and is happening now), where my competition had skills equipment I could only dream of. What's worse, he literally lifted images and text right off of my network. I tried to get in trouble by reporting the theft of images I had gotten approval to use to the appropriate businesses, but they felt that the exposure on his site was better suited there than on mine.
Of course, life isn't fair, and that's the way I look at it. The one with the most power wins, and I knew that long before I built my first network. Back when it wasn't that big a deal since Ning was free, but the stakes are much higher now. There's the likelihood I will eventually beat out my "competition", simply because he's so busy trying to mimic me, he's making all of the mistakes I've since learned from. If Ning were to ever return to linking our networks... Well, who knows.
Not everyone embraces change. Not everyone wants to be better. Not everyone wants to be challenged. Wish that they did, but many people would prefer to preserve and protect and play defense.
That said, an opt-in directory is something we've considered. I bring it up a lot here internally, but it's not something that has reached consensus. It would need to be better and more reliable than the previous search was. One detail that is important here is that if we build a directory, people will want to influence how they are listed in that directory. In the old days, lots of people complained loudly because they weren't at the top of search. Most of the time, there were very good reasons why they didn't (e.g., they had no compelling content), but it sure did lead to a lot of arguments and accusations in the community.
I see Patrick's point for sure and it deserves accomodation. I thought the way Ning addressed it covered the problem, but also defeated many of the opportunties and value-add of the original platform. Basically a shotgun approach that assured the security, but I would have prefered a sniper approach to surgically address the problem instead of sacrificing the whole leg.
Thanks for advocating the other side of the coin internally and addressing the issue with us Eric. Moving forward, an opt-in to directory keeps the privacy by default, and allows for those of us who want to get benefit through increased exposure, accessibility, and cross-networking. I'm sure there's a smart solution to the search problem too, but I won't go into it now.
As to my first question, the reason being is that I've forgotten the names of some of the networks I belong to and had obviously, not bookmarked them. I also unsubscribed from emails I was receiving because there were too many. That is why I figured my question was stupid. Surely there is somewhere I can go to find the networks I'm a member of and just click on a link to get there? But seems not, yes?