I've been playing around with this NING-thing for a couple of days now and, aside from a brief interruption in their availability, it all seems pretty easy to work with. i've added photos, videos, posted comments, invited friends, etc. and i've had little if any trouble . It looks like this might work.
-Don Kraus aka the Curmudgeon
Hi, everybody. Cheryl invited me to join. (Thanks, Cheryl.) I haven't played around with the Ning forums before, so, speaking as a newbie, I'm finding it pretty easy to figure out. You guys have done a great job. The site looks nice and is pretty easy to navigate.
But I do have a huge concern. I haven't been able to figure out how to have messages delivered to my e-mail. I only see an RSS feed option. I think this alone could easily kill a group. Granted, I haven't spent a lot of time looking for that option (I'm swamped with my day job), so maybe it's hidden somewhere?
If you go to the "Kicking the Tires" Category by clicking the FORUM tab at the top of the page or clicking the link in the left hand table of the MAIN page, I've written a discussion on RSS that will answer your questions regarding having messages, etc delivered to your email. Thanks for helping us and giving your feedback.
Hi, Cheryl. Thanks. I did see the RSS feed options, but can you have them sent to your e-mail box? Maybe you can and I missed it?
I don't think most people use or even understand RSS readers. Maybe you could burn an e-mailable feed using FeedBurner, but is there a way to publicize that feed on this site? I think it would need to be easy to find and use.
FWIW, unless I've missed something, I still like Yahoo. Many people are already familiar with/members of that system and I know you can have messages delivered to your inbox there.
It seems to me that we've done enough tire kicking of NING. I think we need to spend some effort evaluating the other contenders. I'm still not convinced NING is better in any way than phpBB, but it may be better than the other alternatives.
Thanks for the feed back. Links to all of our test sites are posted on the CASA Web (left-hand table at the top) under Potential Homes. Thanks for kicking any and all tires.
Unfortunately this platform offers an "anyone can join/publically viewable" site, or "invitation only/privately viewed site" which pretty much elliminates it. Managers need to approve membership to keep spammer off the boards. And, our membership wants the site to be publically viewable.
RE: developing a phpBB Site
Reasons why this isn't being seriously considered:
1) its a bulletin board - the membership wants something more dynamic in appearance that will show off their films, profiles, etc. This is also the reason why Yahoo Groups is not being seriously considered. The CASA web is more than just its message boards. The intention is to also provide audio-visual representations of Colorado's talent.
3) We need a GUI that a first grader could use so ANY future manager of CASA (CASA-Films) can take over the reigns.
4) We have much more than site building to contend with before our February deadline.
--a) we have to create sites, kick the tires, and make modificatons from group feedback
--b) we have to extract the email addresses of nearly 2000 members from the MSN Site (by hand).
--c) we have to create a database of those addresses and figure out how to invite these members to the new site (each platform has it's unique limitations)
--d) we have to spend hours communicating with the membership on our progress and responding to ideas, suggestions and comments
5) In real-life I'm a business owner and our company is extreemly busy right now. I simply don't have the spare time to learn the amount of technology required to get us up and running on a phpBB so the membership could try it out, make a decision and get moved by February.
Hey! I didn't know Yahoo! Groups wasn't being seriously considered. I would have shut up about it. :-) I thought everything was still on the table. I also didn't know we wanted all that "dynamic in appearance" stuff. Now I see why you guys like Ning.
I still have a question/concern about it, but I already posted that on the MSN board so won't repeat myself here.
Actually, I created a Yahoo Groups site (the link is on the CASA Web under Potential Homes (top left table).
Anyone who wants to join it and see what they can do with the site is welcome to join. I tried kicking it around a bit and found it a bit difficult to tweak. I looked at a ton of other Yahoo Groups (including DenverActors and a few other of the suggested local groups) to see what the potential was. There seems to be a lot of local bulletin board and forum-type filmmaking, writing and acting groups; some more successful than others. We want to offer something more dynamic to show off our local talent (as we did on MSN Groups).
Since our goal is to support local groups and businesses as well as individuals, the plan will be to include links to the other local forums and bulletin boards. We also plan to invite some of those groups/leaders to host a sub-group on the CASA Web (like Coach Dalton is doing.)
So far we've been getting very positive feedback on the NING site. Wetpaint was all wet. Flux is in flux as it offers pretty much the same thing as NING but has a less dynamic GUI.
I haven't created a facebook group yet. Other community group leaders say that it doesn't work well as a community environment. One of the reasons I've poured more time into Ning is because other Community Managers (in various industries) say it's the best one out there.
Tip: Click ^ Up Arrow in Music Player Controls Bar & choose Pop Out to listen to music while you browse the site.
CASA PRIVATE CORNERS
You must first join these Corners to view their forums. Links work for Members Only.
CASA PUBLIC CORNERS
Hey, what happened to the Chat Board? Similar to FaceBook, CHAT is now located in the bottom bar of every page. Click on the Open Chat Window icon (line with diagonal arrow located to the right of "CHAT"). This is one of several recent updates to NING's platform. For more info click here... NEED HELP? (also located in the right-hand table.)