Kyle Ford spoke on social networking and Ning. Great talk on where we’ve been and where we’re headed with social networks. I’ve played with Ning for a while and was glad to hear his take on Ning for educational purposes. Key point for Ning is that it isn’t necessarily a company providing the space for social networks but us. I’ve been impressed with, and Kyle reminded us, how Ning branding stays out of the way.
He noted that there are 500,000 Ning social networks with 30 new sites every minute. Exciting to find out that you can get the code for Ning and customize the platform. This expands greatly even what their API offers.
They are also making use of Google OpenSocial for integrating custom applications into Ning. This is starting Thursday with options such as Box.net integration for file sharing. In this case integration is more than simply a widget but expanded content directly in Ning.
Kyle was asked about FERPA issues and noted that they were still learning and evaluating issues. Also noted that there is currently no option for local hosting. I asked about pre-populating networks with accounts via the APIs. He states this is possible and, afterword, in a follow-up recommends checking out developer.ning.com.