Many have whispered it, some have called out loud: NING is the future of (social) networking. The concept: micro-local or hyper-local networking. Building local communities with a global exposure.
I'm helping out volunteers that want to come and work in India. The organizations they work in - mostly NGO's or grassroots development organizations - are still highly dependent on (foreign) funds to implement their projects. First it was email, next was social networking, next is .. what?
My point is: with social networking, viz. NING-working, becomes more and more the norm for engagement on a global AND local scale, what could possibly be a stepping stone for my partner NGO's - if at all - to drive along on the information highway, organizing their information and communication, engagement in general, using a NING site?
Could (or should?) NING be an answer to their wish to be heard out there?
Or should they simply stick to 'emailing better' and 'building better websites'?
You're right, Ninette, about the control factor. Moreover - as presented in the e-book 'Social by Social' (downloadable from http://www.socialbysocial.com) it is important to not rush ahead but carefully map the needs of all the participants (rather than beneficiaries).
I have a ning site for a Transition project called the New Forest Food Challenge. It's a community project aiming to put more emphasis on local food production. The ability to network in such a diverse set of ways has proved really useful and I would agree that this kind of software can really help to build communities.
Now how did you go about it - step by step - to introduce this networking tool to all the stakeholders? And - if any - what resistence did you encounter? And how did you tackle this and other challenges?
I'm looking for some guidelines from people who have gone through the process,
We started with a list of emails of people who had shown an interest in Transition (the idea of strengthening communities to face the energy/climate challenges ahead). All were invited to join and to invite their friends etc etc.
I have to say that only a limited number of people actually contribute to the site but most tell me they appreciate the information - I send a news email round each Friday. Many people are still unsure of social networking and I have had to reassure them that it doesn't matter if they make mistakes or post things that aren't 'polished'. But there's still resistance. Whenever I get the chance I try to take people through the steps of doing things on the site...
One big obstacle is that many organisations ban their staff from using social networking sites so members working in the local council and the National Park Authority can't view the site - quite a few are members because of the job they do so it's quite legitimate for them to access the site at work. They are trying to persuade their IT people to let them have access.
If I think if anything else I write again but hope this might be of some interest?
Your answer - very much 'hands on' - is more useful to me that you perhaps realize. It's exactly what I was looking for. I'm still two steps behind you, and you have permitted me a look over your shoulders. Many thanks,
My reality - so to speak - or my context if you wish, is different: working with managers of Indian NGO's. Grass-roots NGOs with - till now - little exposure to anything more than 'email'. But they're savvy, exposed to foreign volunteers who juggle their social networks like they drink a cup of tea. So there's a growing need 'to know'.
I will continue my search for people who have been working with local development organizations, introducing new social media, who fell and got up again. If you happen to know friends, family or co-workers who work in developing countries with SM and local NGOs (i know, I'm asking a lot), that would be wonderful. They fell and stood up again, learning while stumbling along .. that's the next 'thing' I am looking for.
Many thanks again,
AMAIDI Volunteering in India