For many purposes, I can appreciate how Ning encourages the use of "friends" in it's design.
However we often encounter circumstances where we want to invite members of our network to various "groups" or otherwise interact with members who are not already our "friends". For instance: the board would like to have discussions in their group forum, but all members of the board need to join the group first. Since members are elected, we may not all already be "friends" or interested in being "friends"
I would very much like to see a feature that allowed you to toggle off the "friends" selection and invite people to your group from the full list of members. As it is, we are doing this by directly e-mailing people, which is inelegant at best.
You raise some good points, Peter. I think when groups were designed there was an underlying concern that someone might start a new group and then invite everyone on the network to the group. If you have a network of 10,000 members, that could be some serious spamminess going on. So, that is one reason it works this way. What I think might be more effective in your case would be a "follower" model instead of a "friend" model.
I'm not sure if we will change this, although I can see how it makes sense for some networks, particularly professional networks. I suppose one possible or partial solution to this might be to allow NCs and/or admins to set up and invite members but not give this ability to every member.
For our purposes the ability to have NC/admins be able to invite members would be the most elegant solution to our problems.
While I can see how moving to a "follower" model would help in many cases the whole dynamic of friends/connections/followers is unlikely to ever catch on for smaller groups such as ours with under 200 members.
In the long term, you might also consider allowing admins to customize their groups to allow people to invite others to their groups in the same way they ask them to be friends. This would limit the amount of spam but allow some ability to search through the whole network and send messages to select members.
I can't promise we'll change this, but I'll try to raise some support for it with our product team.
It would be super helpful to invite non friends to groups. Should be for admin only. We have state groups for more local information. Most members do not join state groups without a little nudging and to do this I have to go to members, search their state, then go to their profile and invite them to their state group by cutting and pasting the link. Very Kludgey! Thanks for considering.
Eric, I'm for it! That's what I really need, a "follower mode" would be a killer solution for the groups!
We have 100s of groups for Brasil's radio stations and we ever dreammed on that!
Thanks Peter to touch this point!
Peter, for this reason I changed "Friends" to "Connections" on the professional network I'm building. Still testing the user experience of this, but so far it seems to bear the change. It has become more of a LinkedIn-style connection-feel (although I'm shooting for a level of connection that is less than LinkedIn best-practice where you only connect with someone you could recommend).
I was wondering how the switch to "Connections" instead of friends is working on your network thus far.
Haven't launched yet so won't know for real for awhile yet. Getting good feedback generally in initial alpha-testing. I'm not foreseeing any issues because the language change was pretty consistent across the language editor.
I like where this discussion and suggestions are going. I would like to see the ability to invite members of the network regardless of the connection... as an option (check box only, no invite all). The members on our network do not want to be another "fb" or Linkedin -- this is an association and they are very sensitive to having another network to manage. My suggestion is to give the NC's the ability to select the level of "invitation" openness. Thank you, I truly appreciate the great discussion and forum support.
I am currently dealing with this issue as well. I definitely get the issue with having members be able to invite the entire network to a group, but I think at least giving admins that ability would be safe. A lot of the people I want to invite to the group probably have no interest in being my "friend." :(
I would like this feature also. To start a group and being able to invite ALL members not just friends. For ADMINS only. I guess you could send out an announcement to all members but its just not the same. We can do this with events. Why not Groups.
Forgive me if I sound completely confused, but I am. As a Ning admin, I have always had the ability to invite any member of our network to any group that I created. We have several groups that are private, and as someone joins our network that needs to be part of a specific group, I send them an invitation to join. I have even been able to paste a list of email addresses into the box, and it did not matter if they were "friends" or not. It has been a few months since I had to add people to a group, and now that I am trying to do so, I can only seem to add my "friends." I just checked, and it looks like it is now that way with all of our groups, even the ones that don't require admin approval to join them.
I thought that this must be some new restriction, so I searched Creators and found this thread. What the heck happened? Does this have to do with the fact that we recently upgraded to Design Studio?