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A Step-By- Step Guide to Launching an Effective Online Community By Tom Bunzel
Do Your Own Ning Thing:
A Step-By-Step Guide to Launching an Effective Online Community By Tom Bunzel
Table of Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................................................... 3 Planning Your Network ................................................................................................................................ 4 Creating Your Ning Network........................................................................................................................ 6 (Re)Configuring Your Ning Network ........................................................................................................... 8 Creating Your Own Banner ........................................................................................................................ 15 Changing Features on the Main Window ................................................................................................... 18 Adding Content ........................................................................................................................................... 23 Setting Up a Forum ..................................................................................................................................... 25 Creating Groups .......................................................................................................................................... 34 Using Your Own Profile Questions ............................................................................................................ 37 Feature Controls and Privacy–Who Gets to Do What? .............................................................................. 39 Fine Tuning the Main Page ......................................................................................................................... 43 Inviting, Welcoming and Communicating with Members .......................................................................... 44 Building Content with Textboxes, Blogs, Pictures and Videos .................................................................. 48 Your Own Page (My Page) ......................................................................................................................... 52 Adding Other Network Content .................................................................................................................. 58 Importing YourTube Video (and Flickr Images) ........................................................................................ 60 Using Third Party Applications .................................................................................................................. 66 Promoting Your New Social Network ........................................................................................................ 70 Using Latest Activity to Keep Up with Members....................................................................................... 72 Get Active on Chat...................................................................................................................................... 75 Customizing Badges ................................................................................................................................... 76 What About Video? .................................................................................................................................... 77 Creating a Photo Album.............................................................................................................................. 82 Going Into Business (Preview of Options) ................................................................................................. 87 About the Author ........................................................................................................................................ 89 © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -2-
Social networks are amazing viral communities which grow organically as fresh members and groups bring new ideas and attract even more new members, groups and ideas—and with a Ning network all it costs is the time invested by the administrator, and then the continued participation of the members themselves. At this point you may be considering launching your own social network. That’s what this eBook is all about. You can use a social network for so many purposes. Here are just a few examples and just a few of the major features which might be of importance or benefit to the organization sponsoring the network and of course to its members: Business (External-Marketing): Outreach (Photos, Videos), Events, Forum, Blog Business (Internal-Support/Training): Videos (instruction, motivation), Forum, Events, Chat, Blog Special Event: Music, Videos, Pictures (excitement), Events (news), Members (attendance), Forum Church or Special Interest Group: Members (community), Events (news), Forum (connection) Sports or Other Team: Videos (instruction), Pictures and Members (motivation), Events (news), Forum (connection with community, coach, parents, sponsors) Education (Class or Topic): Events (news, deadlines), Forum (instruction), Videos (instruction, motivation). Civics/Government: Events (outreach), Videos and Pictures, Forum (communication), Textbox (news)
Everyone also stays informed through Email, Updates, Comments and the Latest Activity area at the center of just about every social network. In addition, Ning’s new video, picture and music players have some cool functionality that now lets members play them outside of their web browser. (Of course, you could try to do some of these things on Facebook, but you would either need to build an application (with a learning curve and/or cost), or fit your idea into one of the components of Facebook, perhaps by creating a network or group. This might work for a while, but you would soon find that it’s not easy isolating a specific community within your Facebook features, and if you wanted to create a business space, there is too little control over extraneous and unrelated content.) While other options exist, Ning has been around long enough to attract over 1,000,000 members, and has helped users build a multitude of new social networks by drag and dropping features into a grid and then letting the entity grow organically. While there is an excellent searchable Help database available on Ning, new network creators, in particular, will find it valuable to follow along in this eBook as a fledgling network is conceived and © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -3-
Please understand that this is not an eBook on how to make money with a social network. administrator and the members and various groups. if you had a social network with thousands of skateboarding enthusiasts. and outlines the potential features you will want to choose and use and--the decisions you may need to make to have your network succeed. administering and using a social network in an area that you care about is addictive for the creator.created from scratch. that is. so that you can get some of content ready and make some of the key strategic decisions without having to deal with consequences of poor planning later on. and making friends and connections as you exchange ideas and important information. you've achieved a membership of significant size to be attractive to an advertiser or sponsor. Note: You can also use a Ning Network to try out an idea for a more complex social network application. To help you plan your social network. or both: © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -4- . Planning Your Network And while it’s okay to just wing it with Ning. what’s the purpose of the network? If it’s for business. For example. here are the features available—and they can go into the left column of the Ning window. You keep getting inspired by other members. is it for your internal use. you can take advantage of the Premium services (which are briefly described in the final chapter) when your network has reached "critical mass". To be sure. for exchanging information and promoting a service or product with clients or customers. Features are added step by step with an explanation of the strategic decisions underlying their implementation. on the main menu. and then let a programmer review the setup before committing to building an application. That way you know what to expect. As you probably realize. creating. or a combination of both? Which Ning features are the most important for you to use and emphasize? And what will it take to implement them? Lots of people like to dive right into programs and not bother reading a manual. For example. we hope that by making this eBook simple to read with lots of illustrations. you could probably attract some sponsors of boards. This eBook covers the steps it will take to get your new social network online and active. it’s a lot better to plan your network out first. it provides you a quick preview of what to expect before you dive and begin organizing your social network. learning new things. that puts the cart before the horse. sports clothes and other gear—like pads and helmets.
Only an administrator (you or other member(s) whom you give administrator privileges) can make these changes. Figure 1: Notice the default features in the middle of the Layout grid. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -5- . Note: By default members can alter the look of their profile page only (not the configuration of features throughout the network).Default Features (already in Layout): Description Members Videos Activity Photos Forum Additional Features (add with drag and drop): Events Groups Blog Chat Music Notes Text Box RSS Get Badges Birthdays Here is a preview of the organization panel that lets you configure your network once it’s launched. You will be using the Manage area to make changes to these features and the look of the network.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -6- . this will be a familiar process for you. Activity (how much you will want to show).Eventually you will change the layout by dragging and dropping features into and out of the placeholders in the Layout grid. Groups (you may want to organize your members). and Forum (probably the most important area for interaction— which topics do you want to begin with and/or highlight? Once you’ve given some thought to these issues. it’s time to get started and build your first social network! Creating Your Ning Network When you first begin with Ning. For starters. If you’ve used a Blogging layout tool like Google Blogger. the three features that you might concentrate on to plan the network would be Members (public or private and respective privileges). When you log in to Ning—and if you have joined or created some networks--you will see the following screen. you will need to set up a free user account with a user ID and password. this is what you’ll see: Figure 1B: Ning’s page for nonmembers lets you sign up or search networks. If you’ve never been to Ning.
com. Now you just need to name your social network. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -7- . which will be inside the main Ning area (<addressyoupicked>). Click it and you get a screen to fill in a new name and web address.Figure 1A: Ning’s welcome page lets you see what’s happening and and members of your social networks In the upper left hand corner of the welcome screen there is an option to create your own social network. and pick a web address.ning. Figure 2: You can instantly create a new social network with Ning.
See Adding Content. The Welcome Box shown above. for the latest screenshots of the Welcome Box options. type in your new social network name. and most likely use your network name in the address. For now. (Remember. and also the ones you have created and administer (as shown above in Figure 1A). below. from the Main window click the Manage tab. and click Create. You can invite new members or configure it to look and work the way you want.When you return to this page in the future. If the name is still available. You can also get to it by clicking on one of your Social Networks on the main Ning page (refer to Figure 1A). above). Figure 3: Your social network is now online. you will see Figure 3. (Refer to Figure 3. for example. or members who have been assigned this ―role‖ have a Manage tab and this view available). and begin inviting members. What you see now in Figure 9 is the main control panel for your entire network. If you selected an automatic log in. only administrators (network creators). Now you’re all set to lay out your network the way you want. Note: It’s hard to keep up with all of the changes at Ning. you can click on My Social Networks to see the networks to which you belong. you can return to the network anytime by typing or copying and pasting the main URL you selected into your browser’s address bar. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -8- . (Re)Configuring Your Ning Network To make changes to the way your network looks and operates. has been replaced by a new Welcome Box with slightly different features.
below). Figure 9: The Manage window is your control panel. where you can change your description and tag line. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -9- .Note: Deleting a Ning Network—should you need to Delete your network. Click Network Information. Appearance and Tab Manager. there is an option for this at the bottom right of the Manage page (see Figure 9. Note the various options for Network Information. Features. and add your member photo and network icon.
If possible save a compressed version of the picture yourself before uploading it to shorten the upload time.Figure 10: Network Information lets you change some of your network description text and add your own profile photo and icon. Figure 11: Select a picture for your Network Icon—make sure you know where it’s located. Click Browse (Figure 10). or a subfolder within Pictures. the reference to the Picture’s location for upload will be set for Set Network Icon. make sure you know where the picture you want to use is located. In Vista you can generally save your images to Pictures. When you click Open. To set a network icon. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -10- .
Figure 13: You can use the same process to upload your profile picture. the picture will upload and appear in the thumbnail in the Network Information window. The Favicon (the tiny image that appears next to your web address or URL in the browser address bar) is a tinier version of your Network Icon. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -11- .Figure 12: The picture is ready for upload. When you click Save.
click the Main tab at the top of the window. Figure 13A: Your network icon identifies your network on Ning’s Welcome Page. you will return to the completed page in the same Tab (Manage).) Now you can click Manage again and this time.Click Browse for your Default Profile Photo. (Note the Theme name in case you want to revert to it). In the Appearance window (Figure 15). and locate a suitable picture and click Save to upload it. (The latest version has a black Welcome Box – see Adding Content below. in the Manage window (Figure 9) click Appearance. you can use the circles at the top right to move through the Theme galleries and then click the circle below a Them to select a new Theme to apply. where your profile picture now under Members. Figure 14: The Main window when clicked in the Tab menu reflects the changes you made. Note: Whenever you click Save on an options page like Network Information (refer to Figure 12 above). © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -12- . To review your newly created Main page. The Network Icon will represent your network with its name whenever members go to their social networks on Ning and choose which network to open from the list.
a way to set your options with code.Figure 15: Click the circles on the top right to navigate to more Themes. Just click OK unless you’re a whiz with CSS. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -13- . and select a new Theme to apply. You can get a sense of the look of a new Theme by clicking Preview before you Save. When you click to Save the new Theme. make it unique. this refers to Cascading Style Sheets. a window will tell you that the CSS settings will be changed. Figure 15a: Click Save at the bottom of the Appearance page or you can click Preview to see what the new Theme will look like. which can be accessed in the Advanced Tab under Now.
we’ll cover these features below. The All Options Tab To add more refinements to your Theme. click the All Options tab.Figure 15b: Clicking Preview before you Save opens a fresh browser window with the modified Main Page for you to review. (Figures 10 and 11). that you can also set in the Basic Themes Tab. Photo/Slideshow. and Video). Notice that under the Colors and Text options. If you prefer just a logo and the tag line (which you could use to display your Network Name in a smaller font) click to Upload an Image and follow the same steps you used in the Network Information window to upload your member profile picture or network icon. You can also click the Picture icon to Add a Logo to the header of your network page—but if you do it will replace your Network Name. you can alter the appearance of Badges and Media Players (Music. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -14- .
and a height between 150-200 pixels. save the banner with a 955 pixel width. (See Creating Your Own Banner. below). You will need to use an Image Editing Program (like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements) and create your banner in a format that can be used in Ning (JPG is probably best). In your Image Editing Program. Figure 16: Under All Options you can add your own Banner image—and also a Network logo image. Creating Your Own Banner One way to really set your Ning network apart is to elaborate on the pre-set Themes and create your own banner image. Whatever changes you made to the Appearance of the network will be applied when you click Save at the bottom of the window.Note: A logo is helpful if you create your own banner with the network name on the image. A height of 150 pixels lets the tag line remain visible and leaves plenty of room for the Tabs at the © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -15- . that way you won’t duplicate the network name on the header.
Then add your text on top of the banner. Click to Upload a Photo next to Header Background. and Ning still has the network name on the header. What to do? The easiest solution is adding a small logo image to the header. which (as noted above) replaces the network name. Hint: For this image. set your Marquee selection size for the banners size (955 x 150). if you’re sharp. the Tab colors will need to be coordinated with the colors at the bottom of the banner image. When you’re ready clock the image icon next to Add a Logo – note that Ning tells you that ―This image replaces the network name. When you Save the new Appearance settings. above). Hint: If you want to create a banner from a large image. (You can’t remove the network name from Network Information to blank it out—Ning requires a network name to be in that panel). Figure 16B: Your new Header image replaces the default colors in the header panel. So let’s add a logo. and merge/flatten the image into a JPG file. click to select in the image. your header will be the image you selected. and then crop to the desired size.‖ © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -16- .top of the window with the Theme colors you selected working fine. But notice what happened – you put the network name into the image. Locate a small image that you can use for a logo (the image I used here is 75 pixels by 73 pixels). If the banner goes all the way to the bottom of the header (200 pixels in height). by choosing a Theme where the tab colors have enough contrast with the Theme color to be visible. (See Figure 16. you might try creating a PNG image with a transparent background. When you’re done you’re ready to add your banner to the Appearance area of Ning.
or if you need it in the future. Now you have an image with the network name in the Header. so that your tag line has enough contrast in the image to be clearly visible and readable. With enough room left in the header (this image has a height of 150 pixels) your Tabs are also clearly visible. back up your source files and remember the name of the Theme you choose so that you can reproduce the combination on other Ning networks. and then play to revise the image and the Theme until you get it right. It’s also a good idea to settle on the Theme before creating an image. There is no easy way to always know in advance exactly how your uploaded image will coordinate with a chosen theme.Figure 16C: Adding a logo replaces the network name in the Header. and no duplication at the top of the page. try to match those colors (especially for the tag line and Tab text. When you do. probably your best bet is to load a theme. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -17- . in terms of choosing a Theme that will contrast those colors well.
it’s time to give your members an interface that best presents your concept. along with a list of Features.Figure 16D: By adding a logo to the image you don’t duplicate the network name. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -18- . At this point we can begin to configure a preliminary layout for the new social network. Changing Features on the Main Window Remember—you are still in the Appearance window of the Manage area. (If you like it you can stick with it. if you want to see the Main window click Main on the main menu. Now that you’ve got a spiffy professional looking page. If you want to Manage more aspects of the network. Unless you have changed them when you first began the network (Figure 4) you will have the default Features shown in Figure 17. Now you will see a configuration Layout panel. otherwise you can always go back and change it after you’ve seen how it functions when members join the network). click the Manage tab again (still highlighted in Figure 16). click Features. From the Manage window (Figure 9).
drag items between panels in the Layout grid.Figure 17: The Features Layout grid lets you add or remove features from your Main window view. or drag items from the Features panel on the left into the grid. To reconfigure your Main window. drag it to the Drag Here to Remove Feature (Figure 18). To remove an item from where it has been placed before. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -19- .
(The ads in the right panel are not available for changes unless you purchase a Premium package. When you’re satisfied with the layout click Save. you will see that in the right panel the default information is grayed out slightly. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -20- . You’re still in the Features window but notice that the items you added to the Layout also appear on the Main Menu at the top of the window in Tabs. or remove them by dragging them into Drag Here to Remove Feature.Figure 18: Drag items from the Features panel on the left into the Layout grid. Of course it will not be visible unless users scroll down on some pages past the ads. (Note: the icons on the components to drag and drop have changed slightly in the current version of Ning).) Note: Chat is no longer a Feature to be dragged into a column. appears in the status bar on the bottom of every page. If you drag an item from Features (or move it from another area) into the yellow area in the right column. Note: The right panel can hold very important components: that are available on every page. Chat is now a checkbox which when enabled. Then click Save again. it will be accessible under the ads and About the Network on every page. What about changing the order of the items you’ve added? You can change the order of these items shown in the Features window by dragging and dropping them above or below other features. If you look at the grid which represents the Main window. which can let you add your own ads.
Manage). You can also add new items just to the Tabs (see below) or remove them from the Tabs to reduce clutter. The items that you added to the Features layout which have also been automatically added to the top main menu are now shown in the Tab panel on the left. it is also added to the Tabs at the top of the Window. click the little ―x‖ next to it. You can also click to Add New Tab. The Tab Manager opens – Figure 19. along with the default tabs (Main. To remove an item from the Tabs on the menu (but not from the Layout in the Main window). Figure 19: The Tab Manager shows the tabs that have been added to the main menu. Click the Manage tab again. and this time click Tab Manager (refer to Figure 9 and the icons on the row for Your Network). © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -21- .Note: Whenever you add a new Feature to the Layout.
In the New Tab area. name the Tab. You should add the URL as well – for pages within the network just add a / and the name of the feature (page). which is reflected in the new tab at the bottom of the Tabs panel on the left. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -22- .Figure 20: You can create your own New Tab or Sub-tab under an existing tab. Here we’ve added Video and when we click Save Tab Settings… Figure 21: The New Tab is on the top main menu and opens the appropriate page on the network or another web page (my blog).
In this way you can populate the top main main (Tabs) and not necessarily clutter the layout of your Main window or the contents of the Layout Grid in Features (refer to Figure 18). Note that you can use any web page as a New Tab – here I’ve chosen to link directly to my personal blog by entering the entire URL (http://tbunzel.blogspot.com), and checking to have it Open in a New Window (so as not to leave the social network). If this gets a bit confusing (and it might) use the Reset to Defaults option at the bottom of the Tab Manager Window (refer to Figure 20). That way you can rebuild your tabs from scratch if necessary using the steps immediately above (Add New Tab). If you have a problem linking to a specific page in your network (for example, Forum) from a tab, put an absolute URL in like: http://smartypants.ning.com/forum. Ning will convert it into a shorter URL so that the next time you go into Tab Manager you will just see /forum—but the link will work and you take some of the guesswork out of the process. Hint: Why not ask your users which features they want on your Ning network’s Main page and/or Tabs? You can collect information by email, in a Forum, or you can even use a poll (check out the Using Third Party Applications section for you to put a poll on your Profile (My) Page or on the Main page (available in the near future). So now we’ve configured our new social network. Next it’s time to put up some information and content that will get the members excited to participate--once they’re invited and have joined.
Let’s take a look at our Main page (the first page members see when they sign up to join). For our sample network, we’ve used the Features options (refer to Figure 18) to put a Forum directly below the Latest Activity panel in the top of the middle column. Near the bottom of the left column there is now a box for Groups. (Groups are collections of members in your network who share a particular interest; for example, in a business network the marketing team might have its own specific group).
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved
The Welcome Box has changed to the version in Figure 01c.
Figure 23: The content components you have added in the Features area under Manage now make up your Main page. At the very top of the middle panel there is a dark Welcome Box (black for administrators, blue for members) that lets you quickly perform a number of tasks—but these will make more sense to do once you’ve begun to set up a few more things—such as Forums and perhaps Groups. Note: The Welcome Box has changed very recently. Here is what it looks like now:
Figure 01c: The new Welcome Box makes it easier to Invite Friends, Customize a Member Page (My Page) if that option is enabled, and Add Content. Suggestion: Unless you have a very good reason, restricting the members’ ability to customize their own profile page may discourage membership and participation. When a user clicks to Add Content, here are the options available (which are covered later on in the eBook):
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved
Figure 01d: The new Welcome Box makes it easier to Invite Friends, Customize a Member Page (My Page) if that option is enabled, and Add Content. To clean up the Main page, before you begin, you may also want to look over the Latest Activity panel and get rid of (click the tiny ―x‖ next to) the Announcements of the latest components that you added (unless you need a reminder). This will clean up the page and also get you used to moderating the network (keeping things looking tidy). You may or may not want to delete announcements once the network really gets going to keep the page clean; members may resent it if you delete an announcement about something they posted or deem important. But at this point, let’s create a bit of a strategy for our network before we launch it.
Setting Up a Forum
Probably the most powerful part of the network will be the Discussion Forum. If you’ve been on other networks you know that members can begin ―threads‖ of topics and if they are compelling enough, there is a lot of activity generated. Depending upon the type of social network you want, you can just let the Forums ―happen‖, and begin a few threads of your own. If that’s all you want to do you can click Forum on the top Tab (if you’ve got it up there) or Start a Discussion in the Forum panel in the middle of the Main page and get right to it. (Figure 23 above has an arrow pointing to a Forum set up in the middle panel. Note the Start Discussion option).
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved
But another option you might consider: you can break up your Forum into ―Categories‖ so that members can post their topics and discussions in a more structured type of setting.Figure 24: You can begin a discussion in the Forum by clicking the Tab at the top of the window (if you’ve set it up) or Start a Discussion an Forum area you’ve set up on the Main Page. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -26- . Let’s begin by setting up the Discussion Forum with Categories. and perhaps even getting members primed for selecting areas of interest when they join by including the same concepts in a Profile Question. This also helps members connect with others with their own specific interests. As you might expect. But you might consider coordinating the Categories with the Groups of members you create. you would begin in the Manage area and click on Discussion Forum.
you can enable a Threaded style for discussions. That’s because there aren’t any. Under Manage Forum. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -27- . you have a few choices to make. so that all responses are sorted by the thread rather in reverse chronological order—this may make it easier for members to find their main areas of interest and participate. Figure 26: Under Manage Forums you can configure the style for your discussions and begin to add Categories. Fill in the first one (as Figure 26 shows) and click Save.Figure 25: You’ll find the option to configure your Discussion Forum in the Manage page. At this point you may notice that the option for Categories is grayed out and not yet available. First. So it’s time to create some Categories to organize the Forum.
you can choose to show the discussions by Categories. and eventually. finding new connections. through comments. When the Categories are set.) Now open the Forum. either from the Top Tab—which puts you directly into Discussion Forum… © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -28- .Figure 27: Once you create a few Categories for your Forum. click Save. create a few categories that will be meaningful to your members as a way of placing their discussions and ideas. (When you click Save you won’t see the results immediately because you’re still in the Categories page. At this point.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -29- . nothing). Note: Members who want to disregard Categories can click the drop down arrow next to View and just see a complete list of Discussions. if you’ve featured the Discussion Forum on the Main Page (front and center). And. then members can click Start Discussion while seeing a preview of what’s already up there (right now.Figure 28: In the Discussion Forum the new discussions can be placed into Categories.
you can start your first discussion. fill in the Title. create a Post. it covers up the ability to add meta tags for search to the post—we’ll show those in Figure 31). and now you can designate a Category. Note: Figure 30 shows the three Categories in the drop down menu. Click Add Discussion… © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -30- .Figure 29: You can click Start Discussion right from the Main page (if enabled) with a preview of current discussions when they’ve been posted. In the Add a Discussion window.
especially after a network grows to a large membership with lots of content. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -31- . Note: The Magic of Search—You should make members aware of the enormous power of Search in a Ning Network. Frequently there is content on the network somewhere which members might want to read or see. video or music—because no text in those elements is directly searchable) will help keep the content accessible through the Ning search engine. Note the tags we added under the drop down menu for Categories (Figure 31). Now the first topic has been added to the Forum under What’s New.Figure 30: You can add your first Discussion to the Forum and place it into the appropriate Category. but they’ve lost track of where it is. Getting your network’s members into the habit of adding tags to their content (even or perhaps especially photos.
and members who enter the Forum area can click either the Category or the Post link to see the post and enter a reply.Figure 31: The Discussion topic with the first post is available for members to Add Reply. the new post is shown under its Category. to add the Forum to the Main page refer back to Figure 18. Notice the Sort by dialog box in the upper right (Figure 33) where the default is by Latest Category. if you click Forum on the Tab (main menu at top). Figure 32: In the Forum area. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -32- . The other options members can choose for Sorting are Newest Discussions and Most Popular. Now. with the new post listed. Your Discussion Forum will probably be in a prominent position on the Main page for members to access (see Figure 34. Clicking on the Category brings up the Category page. below). you will see the new post in its proper category.
Figure 33: Under your Category the new post is listed. Members can immediately see the new post and click on it to Reply. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -33- . Back out in the Main Page… Figure 34: On the Main Page the new post is shown in the Forum and under Latest Activity.
Have one ready to load into the Image loading icon. If you want to change this later on you will need to delete the Group and re-establish it later. Figure 35: You can Add a Group from two different places – the Tab at the top or in its module wherever you put Groups within Features to appear on the Main Page.Creating Groups If you want to organize your members in some pre-set groups you’ve got two ways of doing it: In the Groups module where you put it in the Main page (using Features under Manage. refer back to Figure 18) or from a Tab at the top of the page if you’ve enabled one for Groups. You will also need to decide whether or not you want the Group’s Membership moderated or open to anyone in the social network. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -34- . You will need a picture to represent your group. You will see the Delete Group option on the Group page under Admin Options near the middle of the page (Figure 37).
members can sort their messages within it). After you click Skip. Groups let you begin discussions from within their pages or write on a Wall for members to see. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -35- . you will see your new Group. (If you’ve named a Category with your Group name.Figure 36: Before you click Add Group you need a photo and to make some decisions about membership. After you click Add Group you will see a window where you can Invite Members – you can skip that for now.
by sending a message only to a group instead of broadcasting to the entire network.Figure 37: Notice that members can start a Discussion or add a Comment to the Group Wall directly within their new Group. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -36- . Groups you created are accessible the same way you added a Group—from the top Tab or in the Main page if you added Groups using the Features panel in Manage. Another really effective way to use groups is to filter an email message. and then target specific messages only to those individuals. in a business network you might create a group just for Sales or Marketing. For example. you can target your message specifically to only those people in the network for which it’s relevant.
Using Your Own Profile Questions Now that you’ve organized some of your potential content into Categories and members into Groups. We now added three Groups that correspond to our three Categories: Great Ideas. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -37- . To set up another profile question (there are two in the network by default) go back into the Manage page (refer to Figure 9) and click Profile Questions. Science and What’s New. there’s one last step you may want to take before you welcome them in: you will want to add a Profile question to help new members find their way around once they’re inside the new social network.Figure 38: Your Groups with their images also appear anywhere on the Main page where you chose to place them in the Features panel in the Manage area. The Profile question helps establish in the member’s mind as he/she joins which areas of the social network hold the most interest and on which they might want to concentrate. Obviously they are free to go elsewhere as well (unless you restrict some of the areas or options under Feature Controls (see below). As we mentioned you might have groups for parts of your organization (Marketing) or for different product lines or services.
select Multiple Choice from the drop down list on the third question. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -38- .Figure 39: The Your Members section of the Manage window lets you set Profile Questions and control other aspects of members’ activity. Notice the two default questions in the Profile Questions area. and allow him/her to select more than one answer. to put in your Groups/Categories preferences as member choices. Now just enter the question and separate the possible choices by commas. Figure 40: You can add more profile questions and set the answers to Multiple Choice or select other options. You can make the question required to be answered when a new member joins.
Feature Controls and Privacy–Who Gets to Do What? Now it’s almost time to launch the network but if you looked at the Your Members section of Manage (Figure 39) carefully you saw that there are Network Privacy and Feature Controls settings you may want to consider first. keep in mind that when others join your network on Ning. they will be setting up a user ID for all of Ning that allows them to also join other networks that they find within Ning. or you invite them as the administrator. Notice that there is a URL at the bottom of the Network Privacy page that you can copy and paste into a web page or email to invite people in a broad number of ways. Many of the Ning networks that are basically open to the public still have the Invitation aspect that means that someone refers the members.Figure 41: You can choose to make the answer a requirement when a new member joins. (You can go into the Members page and select someone to Ban from Network. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -39- . You can return to Manage and select Network Privacy and change these settings later on. and as an administrator you can review the answers to see how interest levels vary among the people on the network. but that is kind of harsh and can lead to unwanted retribution and hostility). You may want to make the network public to increase the volume of visitors (and perhaps sell advertising) but think about the issue of supervising unwanted members. Now when the member joins he/she gets a quick idea of the main categories and groups available on the network. Also.
photos. the more restricted members will feel and generally the less comfortable they will be. You also want to think about what parts of the network your members can change on their own.Figure 42: The Privacy settings let you determine whom you allow on the network. whether it is personal or business. Each member has his or her own page on the network where they aggregate their content. You can also choose to have to approve blog posts. and how control you need to have. and videos. But bear in mind that the more control you exercise. and the most significant aspect of this is their own Profile page. Many of these decisions depend on the nature of your network. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -40- . and videos—and decide whether members can search for others by age. One recommendation also might be to choose to require members to post photos in order to personalize the network as much as possible. This is where you can also set the order in which Comments are displayed in different windows.
ban them entirely from the network. You can also give members the same powers that you have or in unusual circumstances. One word of caution: if you allow members to change their Profile pages and then disallow it. Figure 43AA: You can make any member an Administrator (be careful) or create new roles that you define. you will wipe out a lot of their work and also damage their trust and loyalty to the network. This is probably a decision you need to make before you invite members to your network.Figure 43: Under Feature Controls you decide how much freedom members have. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -41- . You can also create and define specific new roles with certain privileges (as you might Windows for users) that you can assign to one or more new members.
each member will be listed with a checkbox (hidden beneath the drop down list in the figure) which you would click to select for the member for whom you want to change an Action or assign a new role. and basically back up all of your member information. When the network grows. and their answers to all of the profile questions on your social network. Note: Exporting Members as a Database—You can use the Export All Member Data option (Figure 43AA above) to import into an Excel spreadsheet or another database. their email address. the date they joined.Note: In this example there is only one member at this point. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -42- . To create your own new Role. This file will include: a link to their profile page. Figure 43BB: You can create specific Roles to assign to particular members in the Administrator Tab of the Manage Members window. their birthday. you would click Manage Roles and create and define a new role for members that you could later assign.
clean and easy to access. which may be a mistake. you may decide to activate Chat by clicking Manage and clicking its Checkmark in the Features page (refer to Figure 18). and place them front and centers. Take another opportunity to review which components you anticipate will be most popular with members. and remove them from the top menu. the sample network isn’t featuring chat at all. You may find that as you add features to the columns. you should probably return to the Tab Managers (refer to Figure 19) and click the small ―x‖ beside all but the most important components in the Tab. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -43- . Before launch. At this point. your Tabs at the top of the window expand to an unmanageable and confusing degree. Before inviting members you will want to clean that up. Figure 43A: Reduce the number of Tabs at the top of the window to eliminate clutter and confusion. For example.Fine Tuning the Main Page One of the most important certain keys to getting members who return frequently and participate in growing your network is to make the experience user friendly by keeping the Main Page interface uncluttered.
Figure 44: You can use an existing Webmail address book. you will need to follow the steps above to remove a few Features. You can also click Invite Members from the Welcome Box (Figure 01c). © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -44- . and made some decisions as to how members can use your network and which permissions they have. Not it’s time to get some members! The quickest way to get members is to open the Invite page from the very top left of the Manage window (Figure 9) and either import email addresses from Yahoo. Hotmail Gmail or AOL. placed the various components where you think they will work best. so you’ve set up your network with a nice main page. import a database file in CSV format from a desktop application or enter you addresses manually to invite members. Inviting. Welcoming and Communicating with Members Okay.Remember that when you use the Features window to add a feature. it is also added to the Tabs at the top of the interface and to make the Tabs more streamlined. or invite them individually.
including acknowledging events like birthdays. go into the Network Privacy Page from Manage (Figure 42) and copy the URL for your social network to the clipboard. The recipient sees a join/log in page and can put in his/her information to join your network. discussions and blogs frequently and promptly. Figure 45: By pasting the URL from the Network Privacy page into an email you can send invitations from any email program. ―Promoting Your Network‖. Using Your Desktop Email Program If you want to invite members through a desktop email program like Outlook.Note: Welcoming Members—Successful Ning Networks have active administrators and moderators that welcome new members and respond to comments. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -45- . But the key point here is that it’s not enough to invite members and then have other members invite others to grow the network—without an active ―inner network‖ of administrators. More about this aspect of membership is covered under the upcoming chapter. Here’s an example of an Outlook message with an invitation. moderators (on Discussion Forums) and interested members a Ning Network will not remain vibrant.
with their own Main page view. Besides posting a photo. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -46- . Figure 46A: Each member gets a welcome on the Main page.Figure 46: Your email recipient gets a welcome page to join. acknowledging birthdays makes a big difference to many members. and his/her photo goes directly into members (if you set the default that members must post photos). the member will also need to answer them. he/she sees the social network from their own vantage point. After a new member joins. if you’ve made mandatory Profile questions. Note the Birthday entry.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -47- . By clicking Broadcast Message on the Manage page.Once you have members on the network there are other ways to make sure they get word of what’s happening. the more cluttered that part of the Main Page will be. Figure 47: By designating which Activities get instant notification you keep your members informed. But you may want to be selective because the more items you enable for notification. you can send out an email blast to every member of the network. It might be a good idea to solicit feedback from your members as to which items they want to be notified about. Click the Latest Activity page under Manage (Figure 9) and you can determine which activities on the network get an instant notification from members.
and encourage your members to do the same. That way your network will grow organically. You can leave a comment calling attention to your opinion with text. so you’ve gone into Manage. or on any member's profile page. video or blog post on your network. as other members get excited and invite more people. and so on and so on… Building Content with Textboxes. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -48- . for example. Add Text to a Textbox). Blogs.Figure 48: You can broadcast a message to every member directly from the Manage page. Now you can click to Add Text. and put a Textbox directly at the top of the middle column. Finally as the administrator you should take advantage of Comments. You should get in the habit of replying to Forum posts and commenting on as much content as you can. At this point perhaps you’ve decided to add a welcome message to the top middle of the main page. opened Features. Pictures and Videos The key to adding content is to look for the ―+‖ sign in any component and click to Add (whatever the content may be. hyperlinks and images on any photo.
Figure 49: The ―+‖ sign in any content item lets you add that type of content. (If you are comfortable with HTML you can add your own code in this way as well). look for this any time you can’t do what you think you just decided to do. Figure 50: A Textbox lets you add important information. reformat it. hyperlink. Notice that at the top of the textbox form (Figure 50 below) there is a small toolbar that lets format the text. image or upload a file. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -49- . to add a hyperlink to this obnoxious bit of text. and alert your users if they have problems adding content. For example. At this point HTML code for referencing (including) a hyperlink in the textbox has been added to the text. Note that in Internet Explorer a warning at the top of the browser will require you to temporarily allow pop-ups. A script window will open allowing you to add the link. and you can add a title and begin to type your welcome message. and also add a photo. or upload a file. select the word for the link and click the Hyperlink icon. and add a hyperlink. A blank Textbox opens.
There are a number of ways to add a photo—you may want to start by uploading an image from your computer. You can add your photo to the textbox as a personal welcome item as well. Figure 52: You can add a picture to your textbox in a number of ways.Figure 51: You can add HTML code or use the icons on the toolbar to add a hyperlink or an image. or use a more descriptive image. Click the photo icon (not Add Photos in the green panel—which would go into your Photo page). or you can use a web link or create a thumbnail and a link to a larger image. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -50- . and the relevant HTML text will be inserted for you.
Now you’ve got a welcome message with a picture and hyperlink—but the picture is much too big. Wait for the picture to upload. You can now click Edit (at the top right of the textbox) and return to the HTML.After selecting the image for upload. Figure 54: You can adjust the width and height of the picture displayed in the textbox by revising parts of the HTML code. you would click Open. and the HTML text will be added to the textbox. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -51- . Click Save. Figure 53: Your textbox will display according to the text and HTML you added. and then Add in the Upload an Image dialog box.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -52- . Your Own Page (My Page) When you click My Page on the top Tab menu… _Figure 06: Navigate to your My Page on the top Tab menu. The process for adding photos is covered in detail below. Figure 55: Reducing the width and height parameters makes the picture fit much better into the textbox and onto the Main page. it’s about 90 x 90 (rounding it off won’t cause any problems in most cases)—and now the textbox is presentable. Your members’ My Page (and yours as administrator) already has their/your default photo.If you divide the width equally by 4. the other content options work in much the same way. Now that you’ve created and edited a textbox. and it’s a great place to begin to add content that members or others can see when they go to your page on this particular network.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -53- ._Figure07: The My Page lets you add content that others on the network can view. and send your current My Page to others by email or post it on other web sites. You can also click Share.
click on Add Photos. You can now begin to add content from directly here in My Page. and click Open… © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -54- ._Figure08: Sharing your My Page lets show your content to others who are not (yet) members of the network and promote your Ning. or go back to the Main Page and use the links on the green welcome screen (see next chapter). select one. Click Browse to locate the images in the folder. The Add Photos page opens. Take a good look on the left panel to see all of the different types of content that you can add to the network directly from your My Page. Under My Photos in Your Page’s middle column. Generally they will be in My Pictures (Windows XP) or Pictures (Vista) unless you have placed them in another specific folder. and gives you the option to upload and insert one or more photos—you need to know where on your computer the photos are located.
_Figure09: The Add Photos page lets you upload one or more images at a time. where you can add a description and decide who gets to see the photo you have just uploaded. Tags. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -55- . _Figure11: Use the Edit Photo page to add a Description. the Edit Photo page opens. It’s a really good idea to add specific tags to all of your content so that Ning’s robust search engine can help other members locate your uploads quickly using the Search panel. _Figure10: With the pictures in the Browse panel you click Add Photos. When you click Add Photo. and filter who can see the picture.
the first picture (one or more) displays as a Slideshow in your My Page. you first get the actual Picture page. By Default. Tags and so on. _Figure12: The Picture Page lets you change some of the elements you added. When you click My Page. like Description. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -56- . you will see that the picture has been added to your My Page--and also to the Main Page (if you’ve selected Anyone as the parameter for Who can view this photo).When you click Save. Notice the toolbar under the picture display which lets you manage the slideshow and even break the player out to play outside your browser (the same is true of the video and music players).
Thumbnails. like Description. From this Network. Albums From – I’ve Recently Added. If you’ve only added one photo. Random © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -57- . _Figure14: When the slideshow ends you can replay or share it. the ―slideshow‖ will end quickly and you will return to this screen. Tags and so on. Click the Edit buttton and the drop down arrow by Display or From to change the picture view options in your My Page: Display – Slideshow._Figure13: The Picture Page lets you change some of the elements you added.
click Main in the Tab menu… Adding Other Network Content We’ve seen some of the parts of your My Page that can accept content like photos or videos. _Figure16: The new photo appears under latest activity and in the main Network Photos panel as a slideshow. Let’s take another look at the Main page (the first page members see when they log in) now that you’ve added a picture.To see how the new picture looks on the Main Page. Here is what it looks like now: Figure 01c: The new Welcome Box makes it easier to Invite Friends. At the very top of the middle panel there is a dark black Welcome Box that lets you quickly perform a number of important tasks quickly . © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -58- . Customize a Member Page (My Page) if that option is enabled. Note: Remember--The Welcome Box has changed very recently. and Add Content.
Figure 23: The content components you have added in the Features area under Manage now make up your Main page. which the administrator has put into the left column of the Main page.When you click to Add Content. and Add Content. At the very top of the middle panel there is a green options screen that lets you quickly perform a number of tasks—which we’ll be covering in many of the upcoming chapters. Reviewing the Main Page (_Figure 16 above) Notice that the administrator of this network has put the Latest Activity panel in the top of the middle column. where the new picture is noted. here are the options available (which are covered later on in the eBook): Figure 01d: The new Welcome Box makes it easier to Invite Friends. Notice that you can also add a picture by clicking that icon in the green Welcome Screen. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -59- . Customize a Member Page (My Page) if that option is enabled. for example. (Groups are collections of members in your network who share a particular interest. The photo also appears in the Photos panel. Near the bottom of the left column there is a box for Groups. in a business network the marketing team might have its own specific group).
and Flickr hosts photographs (and slideshows) that you can display on Ning. once you’ve added either a Photo or Video component using Features under Manage (refer to Figure 9). Figure 56: You can click to Add Photos or Videos to any of those components on your Main page. you can click Browse to upload a file. or which is important to you. or you can access videos from YouTube or Google. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -60- .And there is a Forum area where you can join or begin a discussion on a topic that has been begun by others. you would need to have a YouTube account and have uploaded some videos (or you can find other YouTube videos that you feel comfortable using and reference them in your network). Importing YourTube Video (and Flickr Images) Like other programs on the Internet today. As you did to add content to the Textbox. Note: You can also use the Welcome Box (Figure 01c) to Add Content. for example YouTube hosts videos which can be linked to or embedded into a Ning page. you can now click to add Videos. Ning can connect directly and take advantage of a number of hosting sites. (If you have your own video files you can also upload them—as we’ve already done with photos). In the Add Videos panel. So to add a YouTube video.
you can open each page and keep it open in separate tabs at the top of the browser). on YouTube. you would locate a video you’ve uploaded or like. (Reference Figure 57).Figure 57: In Add Videos. and click Add Video. return to the Ning network Add Videos page. With the embed code copied to the clipboard. For example. you can paste the HTML code into © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -61- . and find the field for its Embed Code. Figure 58: The Embed Code for a video online is the HTML code that makes it appear in a page you designate. Click CTRL+C to copy the code to your clipboard (or Edit > Paste on the Menu Bar of your browser). you can upload a file or reference files from YouTube or Google. (If you’re using a newer version of Internet Explorer. Now in the Add Videos page.
Add a title and description and decide who can see it. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -62- . an Edit Video page is opened. Figure 60: Edit Video just means adding information and determining who can view your video.Figure 59: Paste the embed code into the panel in Add Videos in your dialog box back in Ning. Then click Save. This puts you into your video page on Ning (the My Videos section under your My Page on your Ning network). Now when you click Add Video.
Figure 62: Now you’ve added Video content to the Videos panel in your Ning network.Figure 61: Your video is under My Videos under your profile in My Page on your Ning network. your video is also available to everyone (unless you restricted it) in the Videos component you placed on that page. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -63- . Now if you click to open the Main page.
You will need to apply for either a Commercial or Non-Commercial API key. you can access a unique email address to which you can send your images from your cell phone or any computer with email. and you can use a Bulk Uploader if you have Java installed on your PC.As you might guess. under Add Photos you do get a way to upload several images at once using more than one Browse field. Figure 63: Add Photos provides a way to upload multiple images or get information on how to send photos from a phone or by email (attachment). If you click on More Information under by phone or email. photos work exactly the same way. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -64- . only the photo host Flickr is a bit more involved than working with YouTube or Google video—it involves getting an API key and setting up a special Flickr account. However.
However. files. without restricting members too much (and it’s a fine line) try to ensure that the content that goes up is relevant to the overall concept of the network. So that’s how you build content along with your members. or other members will become bored and disenchanted. photos. except that when photos are added to the Main Page they display in a slide show.Figure 64: Sending the photos to this email address puts them into Photos on your My Page and also into the Photo window on the Main Page (if you haven’t restricted who gets to see them). Click View All to see all of the images individually in an All Photos page. adding interesting videos. blog entries and applications (third party tools that let you have even more functionality) can greatly enhance the network you create. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -65- . Adding photos follows essentially the same steps as what you experience with video. Figure 65: Photos on the Main Page display as a Slide Show. After the show plays. a member can push Replay or Share.
just go to your My Page. If your Welcome screen is open.Using Third Party Applications With the growing popularity of Ning social networks. Figure 66A: On your Profile (My Page). but in an anticipated update of Ning you will be able to add an application to the Main page for all members to see and use. you can open the Applications Gallery by clicking Applications or immediately add an application if you click Add Application. otherwise. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -66- . As of this writing the applications can be loaded to your Profile page only. third party developers have been busy developing applications that members can add to their profile pages (if you have enabled that option—Refer to Figure 43). there is an Add Application option rights there.
you can simply click Add to My Page. click the ―Hidden‖ link in All Applications. you can click the ―x‖ on their right and they will not be available. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -67- . Note: If you want to keep certain applications from being visible or available to members on your network.Figure 66B: In All Applications. or scroll to look through all of the applications. Figure 66C: When you locate the Application you want. you can search for a specific type of application. or sort by the Categories. which will appear if you use this option. To view or restore them.
when the poll application appears on your page. you will need to create a new poll.Figure 66D: If you want to know more about the application. Figure 66E: In the case of the poll application. you will click View Application to create a poll. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -68- . click its link and a complete description page with a screenshot will appear. Every application is different. for example. So you will want to create a poll of your own.
including multiple choice. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -69- . click to Create a new poll.Figure 65: When the poll applications opens. Figure 65G: You can type in your question. add new answers or create other types of responses. before you click Save Poll.
Acknowledging birthdays on many social networks really builds a sense of belonging and participation and can also stimulate discussions in the Forum or on Chat. just click a design and Save Poll. as many members (and perhaps Forum moderators) should be encouraged to welcome new members. where you can invite other members to participate. Note: Every member fills in his or her birthday when they join. Figure 65I: Your poll application is available in your profile page. You can see notifications when members have a birthday or place a Birthday component on a page to view any birthdays on the current day. Other third party applications can also be loaded to your profile (My Page) for you or others to use. By clicking on the notification email. you can go directly to their new page and leave a comment on their wall. (Refer to Figure 68 to see the Birthday component displayed next to Latest Activities on the Main page).Figure 65H: The poll is almost done. Promoting Your New Social Network You should make sure that as the administrator you are notified whenever a new member joins your social network. Remember that other members get notifications of new members as well. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -70- .
When you click the link (new member’s name) to welcome the new member. you are taken to his/her personal page.Figure 66: Getting a notification email lets you welcome any new member personally. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -71- . where you can write a welcome message on their Wall. Figure 66A: New members appear under Latest Activty.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -72- .) Using Latest Activity to Keep Up with Members As the administrator (or if you have moderators and active members) you should definitely make it your (or their) business to keep up with the Latest Activity and respond where appropriate.Figure 67: Make sure that new members are at least welcomed personally on their wall. he’s a younger version of the author. Notice that from the Profile questions you can get a sense of the new member’s main interest and address those in your Comment. They can also be directed to the Forum or other areas according to their main interests. (By the way if Gary Guest looks familiar.
he should be welcomed. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -73- . Figure 69: To get the Forums active you should reply substantively to all posts. For example.Figure 68: Keep up with the Latest Activity section to send acknowledgments to members who add content. and certainly his Forum post should be replied to. join Groups or post on the Forums. when you see that Gary Guest has joined a Group. Also take note of the tags a member may use in his posts which will let the members sort through Forum posts by clicking on those tags and finding related discussions. Point those out to other members.
whether it’s a group that you created when you began the network or particularly if it’s a new group formed by other members. by going into the Group. make sure you acknowledge new members of a Group. you can write a comment on the wall.Figure 70: A good Forum topic and replies will generate large threads and keep members active and attract more replies and more members. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -74- . Also. Again.
When you open Chat you see who is online. you can chat with everyone by typing a message into the field next to the smiley at the bottom of the window. Remember that you can activate Chat by clicking its checkbox in the Feature page under Manage. Figure 71A: Putting Chat at the bottom of every page makes it really accessible.Figure 71: As members join a Group they should be acknowledged and prompted to invite others to the group and to the network (if that’s appropriate to your vision). You can also send a private message to anyone from his/her Page (refer to Figure 67) – look for Send a Message in the left column to communicate without every other member seeing what you write. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -75- . (Refer to Figure 18). View Profile (to see what they’re about before chatting) or Ban from Chat (if you’re the administrator and they’re causing lots of trouble). Or clicking on another member gives you some choices: Private Chat. Get Active on Chat Lots of members enjoy chat.
Some of these can be sent directly to web locations. like Facebook or MySpace.Figure 72: Chat is another great way to get activity going on the network and also to get to know other members. or click to Get More Badges. you will see a default badge on your Main page. To customize your Network badge. but you can embed these snippets of code in any web page by copying the HTML into the destination page (as we used the embed code for YouTube). © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -76- . If you add the Badges component to the left panel in the Manage window (refer to Figure 18). Figure 73: Ning provides default Badges that you can customize. You can click on the badge and test the link—it should open your network in a new window (or go to the registration page for a new user). return to the Appearances Window from Manage (Refer to Figure 15) and locate the Badge area under the Basic tab. Customizing Badges Ning provides several ways to create small web applications with links back to your network that you can use to promote your community all over the web.
(Refer to Figure 57). When you click Get Badge. just as we added video from YouTube or Google previously. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -77- . web page. or any other HTML placeholder. When you click Done. generally in a specific file format like QuickTIme (MOV) or Windows Media (WMV) that you will need to create for your widget. you can use web-hosted video in your widget as well.Figure 74: The Badges lets you upload an image into the Network Badge. or. and then Save… Figure 73a: The newly configured badge is available on the Main Page. send it to Facebook or MySpace or copy the Embed Code to put it into a blog. you go to a Badges page where you can further modify your badge. What About Video? Videos are very special files.
or the My Videos folder of Windows XP. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -78- . From there you can move it anywhere else and then upload it to Ning. The Logitech webcam lets you capture yourself and save the video in the Videos area of Vista.So how do you create your own video? The easiest way is with a webcam. Figure 79: You can create your own video file with a webcam.
Select the video. In the Edit Video window. click Open. and then back in the Add Videos page. Of course. provide the relevant information and click Save. Depending upon the size of the video. if you have a Google or YouTube account. and use the add from YouTube or Google feature to add the video to your widget (Refer to Figure 57). it may take a bit of time for it to upload. click Add Video (obscured here by the Choose file dialog box). Figure 81: Add tags to make the video searchable and give it a title and description before you click Save.Figure 80: Upload your video into the Add Videos page. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -79- . you could also just upload the video there.
and see the section on ―Customizing Badges‖. Figure 82: The uploaded video is available on your network. Refer to Figure 15 for the area of the Appearance page. for how to add a picture to an object like your Media Player.Now the video is added to the Videos page on your network. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -80- . above. You can also customize the appearance of the Media Player on the Appearance page (with a logo or your own colors). and options to send the video directly to a Facebook or MySpace account. If you click Get Embed Code you get code to copy into any blog or web page to embed the video. The new Ning Media Player (video. music and pictures/slideshows) has a pop-up menu at the bottom that lets you ―break it out‖ and play it outside of Ning in a new window.
or send the link to email recipients.Figure 83: You can share your Videos page on a number of sites. If you send it to Facebook from here. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -81- . You can also click to get the embed code directly from this page. and imported directly into Facebook videos. you basically get an entry that links back to your video page on the Ning network (or if a nonmember clicks on it. If you click Import Video. you will see options for other hosting sites where the video could be placed. he/she will get a chance to register and join).
When you click File > Save As or Office Button > Save As (Powerpoint 2007) you can use the drop down menu to select an image format. This eBook is not about PowerPoint. Let’s take a look at how that might work. A slideshow can combine text and images. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -82- . if you use a program like Microsoft PowerPoint to create it. but it’s such a popular program that you may well have it and already use it. Figure 101: You can create a simple 3 slide presentation (or longer) in PowerPoint. But you can create your own PhotoAlbum out of a series of pictures that you use to promote your site or business.Figure 86: A link to your video page and network appears on Facebook. in its Slide Sorter view you can see a simple 3-slide presentation. For example. photos added to your Ning social network can be viewed in a slideshow in a component for Photos on the Main page (Refer to Figure 56). Creating a Photo Album As we saw earlier. like JPG.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -83- . Figure 103: Choose to Save Every Slide. like JPG.Figure 102: Choose to save the PowerPoint file as a still image. The result is a folder of consecutively numbered image files in a folder named for your PowerPoint file (unless you changed the destination folder or file name).
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -84- . you can Browse and add all the pictures at once. and then create a Photo Album). Your new images are ready for Ning (no. Click to Add Photos in the Photos component on the Main page (Refer to Figure 56) – or go to your My Page and click Photos to go to your Photo page and add photos. ready for Ning. you won’t be saving any PowerPoint animations or transitions). and then click Save. (You will need to add all three slides as photos first.Figure 104: Now you’ve got your slides in picture format. In your Photos page.
Figure 105: Add all three photographs to your My Photos gallery. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -85- . descriptions and search tags for the pictures (tags for at least the first one). You should provide titles. Figure 107: The new photos are added to My Photos. Figure 106: Add identification information and click Save again.
© 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -86- .Now it’s time to make a Photo Album. click PhotoAlbums. Figure 108: On your My Page.
your social network displays links for your members to create their own social networks on Ning. drag and drop your images in the correct order into the right panel and click Save. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -87- . If you want to set your network up to run Google AdSense (or another advertising network): To set up Google AdSense: Sign up for Google AdSense. You can choose to remove the ads on your network or. Just click the checkbox above to Control the Ads. Remove Ning Promotion Links--$24. If you just want to remove the ads from your network. Figure 110: You have a new promotional slide show ready to use. This will not remove references to the Ning ID or the Ningbar at the top of your network.95 per month By default.Figure 109: In Add an Album. Ning reserves the right to run ads on your social network. how to make it functional and achieve critical mass). Going Into Business (Preview of Options) While this eBook is not specifically on how to make money with a social network (rather. run ads from any advertising network with this option. you’re all set.95 per month By default. Control the Ads--$24. here is a preview of the features that you can purchase that can expand your network and use advertising or other strategies to sell products or earn revenue. alternatively. You can remove these links with this option.
He has taught regularly at Learning Tree International. ―How to Use Ulead DVD Workshop‖. Published in 2006. © 2009 Tom Bunzel – All Rights Reserved -89- . He can be reached through his web site. project oriented approach to creating effective multimedia presentations. He has appeared on Tech TV’s Call for Help (formerly as ―Professor PowerPoint‖) and has been a speaker at InfoComm and PowerPoint LIVE. Tom Bunzel’s other books are ―Teach Yourself PowerPoint 2003 in 24 Hrs‖. Nurses in Partnership and the Neuroscience Education Institute.About the Author Tom Bunzel specializes in knowing what presenters need and how to make technology work. ―Easy Digital Music‖. ―Solving the PowerPoint Predicament: Using Digital Media for Effective Communication‖ is a detailed. as well as working as a ―technology coach‖ for corporations including Iomega. ―Easy Creating CDs and DVDs‖. the latest being ―Master Visually Microsoft Office 2007‖.com. ―Digital Video on the PC‖ and the update to PeachPit Press’ ―Visual QuickStart Guide to PowerPoint 2002/2001.‖ He was Contributing Editor to Presentations Magazine and has written a weekly column as the Office Reference Guide for InformIT. Tom Bunzel has written a number of books. West LA College Extension and privately around Southern California and does presentation and video consulting in Southern California. MTA Films.