Using Ning Sites for The Correllian & Pagan Community:
Ning is a social media site, which allows you to build your own Myspace /Facebook like network. Like Facebook and Myspace, it depends on you getting Friends. Unlike either of them it gives you much more control over the network and allows you have access to features that are normally controlled by Facebook and Myspace. Ning allows you to have all your members able to share groups, blogs, forums, photos, videos, and similar features, in either a public or complete privacy for the group. It is a hot site, and growing.
The Witch School community jumped on Ning in January, with the help of Sherry Cooper, and then later with Brendan Tripp and Antony Van Zyl. Adding these deep social tools has allowed us a deeper connection with our students. By offering ways to share content, thoughts, ideas, and more, many of our core students, mentors, and members have been able to reach each other in different ways. It also allowed us to hub (bring together connections) to our other sites and tools, including the school itself. It has done a wonderful job for us.
Since that time, Ning has continued to grow in numbers, as to number of users, number of networks, and the individual networks have growth. While I would have dearly loved to keep this to myself, it is not possible to do so for the web, and Ning continues its growth in a Viral Loop. A Viral Loop is where you register for a useful site, love it so much that you tell your friends, and then the site gets more useful. Then your friends tell their friends, and it expands exponentially. Myspace, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, and tons of other sites benefited by this hidden idea of a Viral Loop. Even Witch School has benefited by this as we grew faster than most Pagan Wiccan sites. PaganSpace.net has as well. Only Llewellyn gets more traffic than either of these sites according to the Independent ranking system Alexa.com. So this idea of usefulness and viral growth is built into the Ning DNA.
Having found Ning and being so useful, the Correllian Community and many members of the Pagan community have jumped in to create their own networks. Just like Yahoo Groups, Myspace, Facebook and others of this kind, some of the networks will grow and become very sticky and useful while others will fail to meet any sort of critical mass, not be useful, languish, and eventually die. The question is what makes them work and not work, and how can we have more successful networks. How can we grow together, and help each other?
Before you as the question, “Why do I Care?”. For all too many people, competition is the center core, and this leads to community cannibalization. For me, I see that the Pagan community as a whole accounts for less than .25% (One-quarter of 1%) of the traffic on the Internet overall. This means that 99.75% of traffic on the Internet is available for us to grow into, and we cannot do it alone. According to Metcalfe’s Law of networks, the more people we get involved in any of the Pagan oriented sites, the more useful our community becomes to each other. So, I believe if we can get more useful and fun sites together, we can grow the overall network, and we all benefit from increased traffic. Sharing resources, and building a presence that helps everyone.
Before you start a Ning site, you need a community idea. It does not matter if it is a Temple, Shrine, Business, Hobby, or even just a conceptual group. It has to have a center to build from. Once you have that, you can register it, and begin deal with the features. By hitting manage in the tope tabs, you reach a page that controls your pages. By going to features, you can add or subtract features and move them around. The most important for most is forums, blogs, photos, videos, groups, and members. Text Boxes are among the most useful. This is the most important first step. What do you want to include?
Over the next couple of Blogs, I will share Ning Building techniques, a few secrets, and a way to build on other Ning sites, to create a way to increase overall traffic. I hope you will join me as we build a Network of networks.
Feel free to email me at EdthePagan@aol.com with questions and I will cover them in upcoming Blogs.