Larry Brauner

Chris Patterson, President & CEO of Interchanges.com and founder of inSocialMedia, is one of the busy people with whom I strive to keep in touch. He’s very enthusiastic about social media and a great people person as well.

When speaking with Chris last week about inSocialMedia, the 3,200 member Ning network he started to enable practitioners to discuss social media strategies, I agreed to join his site’s team. An avid social media strategist myself, to work on inSocialMedia is very exciting.

I’ll continue to moderate and develop several of my own Ning sites, Beyond Business Coaching, Let’s Follow Each Other and Online Kosher Networking.

Reasons You Must Use Ning

Knowing my passion for Twitter and Facebook, you might think I’d lose interest in Ning. I’ll explain now why this isn’t at all the case. These reasons (not in order of importance) are based upon my own personal experience and feedback I’ve received from other Ning users:

  1. Create a Community - Ning enables you to create your own social network, and Ning is free. There are also premium features which site owners can purchase if and when they want them.
  2. Use Ning with Ease - Ning is fairly intuitive and easy to use. Ning collects your basic personal information such as name, location, e-mail, password, and photo one time, and that information is used automatically at each Ning site you join.
  3. Customize Your Ning - Ning sites, and to a lesser extent members’ profile pages, can be easily customized without any programming. However, the Ning program code is open, so that site owners can achieve even greater customization with the help of a programmer or by installing plug-ins.
  4. Build a Niche - Ning sites are built around niches. Site members tend to share a common interest or characteristic. As the site grows, it retains its niche orientation.
  5. Publish a Blog -  Ning lets you post and syndicate internal blog entries, and lets you import external RSS feeds as well.
  6. Form a Group - Groups within Ning can serve as forums or as mini-blogs. They can also help segment a site and bring together members according to various interests or characteristics.
  7. Share Content - You can make friends across Ning sites and share content with them across sites. This happens to be my favorite feature, since it ties in with my macro approach to online social networking. UPDATE: NING HAS DROPPED THIS IMPORTANT FEATURE, however, you can still share content with all friends at the site on which the content is posted.
  8. Link Out - As far as I can tell, all Ning links are “do follow” and your SEO can benefit from pointing them back to your website or blog.
  9. Communicate - Ning offers a variety of communication modes such as profile comments, forum and group discussions, blog and blog comments, photos, videos, events, status updates and private messages. Site creators also have the option to enable chatting.
  10. Control Your Ning - Ning site administrators can choose which members and content to feature or to ban.

Since you’re reading this article, you must be interested in social media, so click here to join us at inSocialMedia. See you there.

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