Following Techcrunch's posting on Thursday, Ning's bubble bursts …, that the new CEO of Ning had written to its staff to tell them that it will phase out their free service and that "existing free networks will have the
opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or
transition off of Ning", there has been a lot of blogging activity about Ning.
Some have suggested that this has been a big PR disaster for Ning, others that this could mean the end to free social media, whilst many more have focused on the alternatives to Ning. I wrote a blog posting on my Social Media in Learning blog about how I thought Elgg might be a good alternative. However there have been many other suggestions, some of which I actually don't think would provide the same functionality as Ning, so this is the reason for today's blog posting, as I wanted to remind you about the section in the Directory of Learning Tools, that (currently) lists 115 social networking and collaboration space tools and services. In this list you will find
- public social networks (like Facebook)
- private/closed social networking platforms (like Ning)
- group and small community spaces
- enterprise collaboration platforms (like Elgg)
Clearly the functionality of a tool or service will be important, but other factors will be the cost (ie whether it is free, open source or commercial software), and whether it is a hosted service or downloadable software. When you choose your new platform you may also want to make sure you own the data and content this time, so if this is a consideration, you will need to read the terms and conditions closely.
You may find my comparison of Facebook, Ning and Elgg a useful resource when considering all the factors involved – to ensure you don't jump out of the frying pan
into the fire!
Meanwhile, you should also note that Ning has made the following announcement on its blog:
"We recognize that there are many active Ning Networks for teachers,
small non-profits, and individuals and it's our goal to have a set of
product and pricing options that will make sense for all of them."
Decisions, decisons ..