Category Weblogs

Why I use Ning as my Digital “Hub”

I have a large (for me) and expansive web presence. I have two blogs (this one and Setting Contexts, my GTD blog), a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Jaiku, Pownce, Yahoo!Mash, my Upcoming page, etc., etc., etc. A lot of these services were initiated under my jquig99 moniker. As a woman, I felt a bit vulnerable having these under my real name.

Then Brian Solis wrote his great post on Facebook as a Digital Hub. It was a post that rang true for me and helped push me to look at my own brand strategy. And I was all about Facebook. Still am. My network was deep across Twitter and FB, easy to build and maintain. I wrote a entry here responding to Brian’s post (I read Brian’ PR 2.0 every day – his perspective on what’s going on in Silicon Valley and the space is fun, informative and gives me a crucial West Coast window). In the comments Chris Brogan made a case for Ning (which I had used to build a Social Network for one of my clients). He also gave me some great feedback on my web presence and has since encouraged me to be consistent and aggregate my content. And he’s inspired me to start working with video (In a small way, so far). Bought a FlipCamera (thanks Geoff Livingston) that I can carry around with me so that I can talk to people on my travels, do video updates on my blogs, transcribe panels and sessions, etc.

But back to Ning. Ning allows you to develop your own social network. It’s modular, so you can add and subtract features on the fly.

Here’s a list of features(from the website):
- Social Networking
- Full Customization
- Photo Sharing
- Video Sharing
- Discussion Forums
- Groups
- Music and Podcasting
- RSS feedreaders
- Widgets
- Member Profiles/Blogs
- Management Dashboard
- Ability to use Google Analytics
- and more…

In a couple of weeks I’ll be getting a new design and my own logo! I also decided it was time to use my domain name, www.janequigley.com, took the ads off and added some widgets – my upcoming page, my blog RSS feeds, video, my NewsGator shared links and a forum to stimulate conversation and interaction.

What’s challenging – building the traffic. It’s not as easy as Facebook to build my network. Ultimately, it’ll be worth it, as the readers will be here because I’m adding some value and (hopefully) people will want to be part of the forum conversations.

So any suggestions? Anything I should add?

Book Learnin!

I’ve just started reading “Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business”, by Larry Weber.

The book talks about how he future of marketing is “a two-way street” (Amazon.com) and that you have to “communicate with, not at, customers”. I agree. Companies, especially large corporate entities, don’t own their brand or message anymore. Users will adapt, modify as they like (and sometimes give back) what they see on the web – it’s the ultimate communication mashup.

I do think that Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr (especially after video), YouTube and MySpace(for a time…) are increasingly important for any company’s marketing program. I think Second Life and other metaverses will have a strong part to play (look at IBM’s use of SL as an example of forward-thinking corporate managemnt).

Everyone’s a marketer, designer, blogger, etc. now. Soon the call to action won’t be “Embrace change…” – it’ll be far too late.

Social Networking for Business

One of the things that I’m trying to focus on within the Social Networking space right now is its business application. How will business adapt social networking’s potential?

I’m so excited about this new service from NewsGator Technologies, Inc. NewsGator owns NetNewsWire which is my newsreader and one of my “Can’t Live Without” apps. It’s a build-your-own-widget for use on Facebook, blogs, etc.

I decided to build my own and see how easy it is. It’s a three-step process:
1st step – Figure out your feeds
2nd step – Design – pick your layouts and colors
3rd Step – cut and paste your code and it’s finshed!

See it under my Twitter Posts (on the rightside)!

There’s a gallery of existing widgets here (Love Shark Week!).

They are also hosting “Widgets and the Future of Advertising” – a webinar on August 1st at 2pm EDT. I’m really looking forward to this and inviting any and all that I feel have any interests in Social Networks.

With so many companies starting networks (as well as opening their platforms…), monetizing these networks is becoming a necessary (evil?) focus.