Back in 2008, I wrote a post based on a complaint an acquaintance of mine had with LinkedIn. At that time, he was very active on LinkedIn, and he’d had enough of some of the bureaucratic stuff he was putting up with after all the time and energy he’d put into the group, for free no less.

At the time he hadn’t decided where he was going to go, but he eventually ended up on Ning. Ning allows people to create their own social or business communities and networks or join other communities already established.

Truthfully, when you first go there it doesn’t look like much. I don’t even know how you’d go about finding communities you’d want to join. In my case, I was invited to join his community, which I did because I had belonged to his community on both LinkedIn and on YahooGroups, which we all know is gone now. He started with one group within his community, then expanded it into many areas. He also got a lot of people to join, which shows how good he is as a networker.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that I just don’t get Ning at all. For all the things my friend has tried to do, there’s almost never been any real conversation that’s taken place. I’ve tried starting topics, only to have them die upon arrival. Frankly, I had hoped that it might be the thing to take the place of Ryze, which seemed to be in decline, but I can’t honestly say it’s done that for me. I’ve become more disenchanted with the one or two line messages that pop up from time to time, often seeming to be hawking some event or product rather than attempting to create a community of conversation.

Yeah, I know, it almost sounds like some of the rants against Facebook here and there, but at least Facebook is entertaining, if one wishes to be entertained. And Facebook is really easy to use; I just think that Ning is too minimalistic in some ways to be really viable for the masses. Also, what is the real purpose of Ning? Is it a business networking site, a social networking site… I don’t really know.

So, I’ve gone in and left every group I was a part of. I didn’t cancel my account, and I’m not sure why I haven’t canceled my account. Maybe I’m still hoping that someone or something will spark an interest and a real community that I can be a part of. It’s not going to be me, since I have my blogs and other outlets to take care of. I guess we’ll see where it all goes.

Anyone else have thoughts about Ning they’d like to share?

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