Sue Waters Blog

Dealing With Naughty Ning Neglect!

| 27 Comments

Image of Ning nong shirtI’m BAD!

Don’t adequately facilitate Nings I’ve created and don’t participate enough in Nings I’ve joined. Do they make shirts for people like me?

UPDATE: Thanks to borborigmus (Vyt) we now have a shirt which he has given me permission to use.

We can’t inflict me on more Nings just to complete Day 3: Search for and Join a Forum for the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve connected with people through Ning interactions.  It’s just that I already belong to several and I find forum discussions take considerably more time to engage in conversations than blogging.

My Solution

Instead of joining new forums I decided to address my extreme Ning neglect by:

  1. Tidying up my Ning profiles – Wouldn’t an option to import profiles across Ning social networks be nice?
  2. Subscribing to Latest Activity Feed, Forum Feed and Blog Feed for all Nings using Google Reader

My guess was I belonged to 5 Ning communities.  After wasting considerable time trying to locate all my Ning communities (and failing) I admitted defeated and my Twitter network helped me.  DUH – log into Ning home and then click on my social networks (how can the obvious take so long to find?)

What planet am I from?  5 Ning communities!  Get real! Obviously can’t count or am really absent minded.  Make that 17 Ning communities (of these I created Etools and AquaEd).  Have now tidied up all my profiles and subscribed to all RSS feeds from my Ning communities.  But now decided profile information doesn’t sounds great (= crappy).

FINAL THOUGHTS

For those new to using Ning communities – check out:

For experienced Ning users I would love to know more about:

  1. What Ning communities do you belong to and what have been the benefits of being part of these commmunities?
  2. What tips would you give new people to help them get more out of being involved with Ning Communities?

Image of Ning Nong shirt created by Vyt used with permission.

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

27 Comments

  1. “Tidying up my Ning profiles – Wouldn’t an option to import profiles across Ning social networks be nice?”

    I’m not a great Ning fan – and that’s one of the reasons. It’s not easy to see what you’ve done in all Nings, hard to transfer profiles, have to keep logging in etc.
    Now, granted I can see some uses – e.g. to separate out parts of your life, but I’d rather have two different accounts & login to one or the other!

    I agree that you can do it with RSS feeds etc., but I’ve not found an easy way to have a quick overview of everything *I’ve* done in the different communities – rather I get an over view of what’s going on in each community.

    But, Yes, I too am guilty of Ning neglect (and all sorts of other neglects!)

    • Hi Emma – surely it wouldn’t be that hard for them to give you an option of do you want to use your standard profile or make new one. That would definitely help.

      And RSS doesn’t necessarily speed up the process because as you say if you want to respond you have to log in (RANT). Neglect = house work, gardening, cooking etc

  2. Sue, I love you for this post. I, too, am very guilty of ning neglect! I am going to follow your protocol for organizing my ning life. Thank you!

  3. i, too, have been guilty of Ning neglect. I’ve started to try and use Classroom2.0 a bit more, but I decided my best option was to leave 3 of the Nings I will probably never check on again, which leaves me down to just classroom2.0 and edubloggerworld.

    • Classroom 2.0 is definitely the best for educators Dan.

      The trouble I have is how they organise the forum discussions means you only get RSS feed for the first post and not all the responses. Maybe I am doing something wrong. But this really annoys me as it is the responses often I want to read – not the original post – and I don’t want to constantly click on link to visit.

  4. Great blog post and one that hits home with me. I have one Ning group: Voicethread, that I have about 200 members in and tried to get people to share ideas on VT, however, I’ve been using it very little this year. Others have taken over the community though and they do get people’s questions answered. I’m happy with it so far, but would love to know how to improve it. I belong to MANY others, I went to check….25 total! However, that includes one for the Carls family that I haven’t done anything with, 2 for each district I work in a day a week (someday I hope to show to people – little in there now), one for a group last year that doesn’t get used. OK, that still leaves me with too many!
    My advice would be to focus on one where there is a lot of action and you know you’ll get answers like http://www.classroom20.com/
    I do get SMARTBoard ideas from http://smartboardrevolution.ning.com/ and belong to a few for Global Collaboration because I want to offer more to our teachers, but don’t have the time to be in there, unless I get an e-mail update from them.
    Hope this helps, I will have to look into a feed for my Google Reader, but I think it is time for me to update what Nings I need to be in!?!?
    Thanks again for all you do Sue,
    Mark Carls

    • Hi Mark – glad to hear if I was rated for Ning addiction you would win not me since you belong to more.

      As a Ning creator unless you are constantly facilitating the interaction or you have the sheer volume of members like Classroom 2.0 has – it just isn’t going to happen.

      But here lies the problem – as the creator you don’t necessarily need the conversation to extend your own learning as you are often fulfilling it through other tools. The people who need it are often those that are new that don’t necessarily participate. Added to the fact that new people often feel more comfortable with closed in nature of some Nings.

      Meanwhile the creator and people who work actively facilitating discussion get really tired – becomes like a no win situation….

      Can’t cope with more emails while RSS I can.

  5. I belong to three (or is it four) ning networks plus a few other online communities. I find that I don’t have time for everything I want to do. I wish there was a master dashboard for ning groups so that I would have one place to go for all of my ning activity. It would also be great if Twitter were integrated too. Right now keeping in the Twitter mix consumes what little excess time I have.

    • Definitely is hard, Karen. How I manage is not trying to stay on top of everything and prioritizing what provides most effective use of time. That does help. Twiutter – while I have it set to slowly loading all tweets – I’ve become very good at mainly spotting those directed at me.

  6. Is this where the support group meets? I am so guilty and belong to about 10 (or is it 12?) nings. I just do not have the time to devote. I need to stop hiding and pop in from time to time, but subscribing to feeds is a good place to start. Need a strategy here…

    • Louise – a support group would be good. Also need one for my twitter addiction. The RSS feed definitely helps especially for those Nings I need to watch more closely.

      For example I set one up for Aquaculture Educators. I watch that one closely so that I can engage when people do take time to post discussions.

      Routines and strategies are the only way I get through my day (sure my hubby would like to see them implemented around the house).

  7. Snap! I also chose this week to get on top of my Nings. Surprised to find how many I actually belonged to, although I am only regularly active on 3. A couple of them don’t even seem to have RSS feeds, which for me makes real participation impossible as I am simply not going to think about visiting the sites otherwise. Ning is such a fantastic idea – I love the potential for learning within communities of like interests, however, in practice I’m not sure that it’s working 100% yet. It is not easy to get people to participate meaningfully, and I have noticed some Nings enjoy exponential growth in terms of numbers, but this does not improve quality in any noticeable way. Can a Ning with over 3,000 members really function as a community? I have my doubts. Anyway, I remain a fan, for now.

    • Laughing that we both were addressing our Ning issue this week Simon. Yep no RSS feed – only on latest activity = private nings where you have to log in to participate. High on my list of not a fan of.

      Ning is definitely one situation where member size does determine success. My belief is success of a Ning is based on high membership, being well set up and good facilitation (ideally by more than one person).

      Why high numbers? Rule of participation rate. 90 % lurk, 9 % contribute occasionally and 1 % do most of the contributing. So if you have 3000 members you may have good participation because it means if lucky you will have 30 actively participating.

      Now take my AquaEd community – only has 35 members – lucky to have 3 people participate occasionally. Etools has 168 which means if lucky may have 2 people really participate.

      Compare this to my blogs – Established readership which links into Twitter. Participation rate is considerably higher with a more diverse group.

      Nings definitely have their place and are important.

  8. Our team created a Ning for CPA Congress last year. We had about 230 people join and pretty much NO conversation. When I conducted the review everyone I spoke to said “I love the idea, it’s really great…I just never got around to coming back.”

    As we can see in the comments on this post, not returning is the biggest problem with Ning, a niche area of interest is rarely a compelling enough reason to encourage a user to regularly return to a site that they wouldn’t normally visit.

    • Unfortunately the coming back is part of the problem as you say Mick. Part of my issue has always been the cluttered aspect of Ning.

      For new people, it does provide a nice safe location but it doesn’t necessarily engage them. Wonder if Facebook – where often they are comfortable or where they are facinated to learn more about might be a better option sometimes. Off course in my case that would mean I would have to make time to learn how to use FB better (NO!).

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  10. I was involved with Classroom 2.0 but I decided to just really focus on my blog and follow 30 – 40 blogs with comments. Can you spread yourself too thin? But then bloggers say if you want to grow your readership you need to get out there to all the social networking sites and cultivate links. A Catch 22?

    • Definitely can spread yourself too thin Paul. For people like Darren Rowse belonging to all these different sites is an important part of developing his business.

      My thoughts are we need to think about the distinction between being a problogger and an edublogger.

      The activities I engage in are more about learning and creating connections with other that help my learning while also assisting others. My priorities are reading other peoples posts, writing comments on other peoples posts, responding to comments on my post and then when I get time writing posts (bottom is forums). That order is important to me because my focus is learning.

      Look at any problogger and you will see priorities are normally write posts > promote posts > rarely respond to any comments. Which is all fine because their goals are totally different.

      PS What can I say? I’m unsubscribing yet again from Classroom 2.0 Latest activities feed. 84 new items just overnight — just not manageable. Better for me to focus on other forums.

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  12. Sue said: “Imagine a Ning hub where it all came together and made it easier? Dreaming!”

    While not exactly a hub, there is an overview page of all your Ning communities which comes close – http://www.ning.com/home/apps/using – and has the side-benefit of reminding you about all the forgotten Nings you belong to!

  13. A dissenting voice-I check on a 100 blogs, own three blogs (one student, two teacher) but usually hang around ning– CR 2.0, Fireside Learning or Giftededucation. In some regards I like it more than blogging and commenting–there are several reasons why:
    1. I have opinions about everything so there is a lot of variety in the discussions
    2. I have been using the internet for so long that I’ve seen, used, reviewed, or presented on thousands of sites and applications–I like sharing all the stuff that is stored in my feeble brain with newcomers.
    3. I hate to write so I can comment in a few words
    4. I like the quick turn around time.

    and

    5. I get really frustrated when I can’t follow up on my comments to bloggers—most blogs don’t “notify” when new comments are made. I forget what I said to who—- And that’s what I have to say to you!

  14. Good points Nancy but don’t you see their discussion forum as a form of commenting?

    Commenting on blogs not a problem for me because I use comment tracking services that bring the comments to me via RSS. Often easier for me to track those comments than it is in discussions on some nings.

    • Other than the ‘follow this discussion’ option maybe I don’t know how to follow only my comments?

      I like the chattiness and give and take of CR20. I just want to visit with like-minded people for a few years until I retire.

      I guess I’m shallow but sometimes I read blogs and think “what the h*** is he/she talking about. Many times one blog is a c/p of some other blog. I’m not into deep philosophical discussions—I’m not trying to change the world. I just want to be a good teacher, wife and mother.

      Honestly–I’ve lost patience with a lot of the ed tech community, seems like many of them are barking up the wrong tree. OK finished harping. N.

      • Hi Nancy, I normally follow discussions from Ning by subscribing to the RSS feed from the forum using Google Reader.

        With Classroom 2.0 how they organize the discussions means it only picks up the first post not the responses. So if I want to follow the responses I need to subscribe by email – which drives me crazy.

        No problem about harping on :) With blog reading I’ve gotten very good at taking in what I want to and ignoring the information that doesn’t interest me. Like you I also don’t cope well with the deep philosophical discussions. I know there are readers that enjoy those discussions but it just isn’t me.

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