Video Bridge / Grundtvig Workshop /
Discussion about NING migration
|We have our VideoBridge social networking site on NING (and some neighbouring ones like: http://globalvillages.ning.com, http://transitioneurope.ning.com and many others.) and currently have to consider either paying a fee for Premium support or migrate.
for the overwhelming importance of NING see here: http://www.educationalnetworking.com/ListofNetworks
here is some voices that seek to provide solutions.
Steve Thompson: The social network NING is intending to go PREMIUM only. The announcement from the new CEO (whilst cutting the Ning workforce by 40%) seems quite stark, "pay for premium services or migrate off the network", I’ve used NING quite a bit and I know other community informatics/community media projects do too. Of course no-one said Ning is going away and all you have to do is pay (nots ure how much yet) to keep your network. However, I hear warning bells and I'm considering alternatives as are many people.
This seems a shame because the enclosed nature of Ning and it's multi media capabilities seemed ideal for Community Media groups. Whilst I don't think any provider HAS to give their services for free this has been the business model of NING for several years and they've built up a client base on the strength of it that they are now going to disenfranchise. I think they may see a damaging backlash.
I'm thinking of using BuddyPress with a Wordpress installation and import my main Ning users there. I’ll write up the steps in a wiki if anyone is interested.
I’ve seen lot of traffic on the demise of Free Nings and what the alternatives might be. There seems to be lots of alts and of course folks have their preferences. I don’t think there is a “like for like” alternative to Ning and I think I’ll be cautious in future about getting hooked into any free provider in future.
I guess the rule of thumb is the purpose at hand. A 30 day project or a 6 week course might be ok to try one of the Ning lookalikes and not care about longevity. For anything else we probably want to go self-hosted. Like I said we all have our preferences and I like Wordpress so I’m looking at BuddyPress?. I have an instance running without too much hassle. I had a slight detour to the forum and had to add a line of code so it’s probably not a total non geek option (yet) but it seems OK. My instance is here: http://www.tvcm.co.uk/community and I have a plugin ready to go to import my NING membership.
here is a technical diary listing each step:
Some links below of alternatives other folks are suggesting. Some of them look quite possible but I’m not sure I want to go down the route of committing my users to something that might dissapear which is why I’m looking into self hosting.
The Open Planning Project's community software/network, http://www.coactivate.org/.
it's quite powerful and does rival ning in many ways, though some of ning's modularity is lost. but it's advantage is that it is open source, deployable on private/public servers, and can be modified as needed. perhaps TOPP might see Ning's change as an opportunity to introduce more modularity into what they are doing?. regardless, for those not familiar with TOPP, their work is great, broad, and worth reviewing. - Morgen Peers in der Community Informatik liste
Another alternative is http://wackwall.com they say they'll have an automated solution within a week, to transfer from a Ning site to their platform. They're open source, but (so I read) they're not as smooth as Ning. I'd be happy to sacrifice some smoothness for Open Source, but I'd like both if possible. Chris Watkins - Appropedia, in a private mail.
The NING creators community has also done a tremendous amout of work: see
What a waste. something is totally wrong with our originality trip! FN
A parallel post by a NING technician gives very determined opinions
Sepp Hasslberger in p2p List:
>> about exporting Ning.com community members' emails, are you aware
>> that's possible to export them in .CSV format from Ning group? Here's
>> how to do:
RalfSchlatterbeck: The good of Nings move is probably that we start thinking about free collaboration environments that really *stay* free. I've written um some thoughts on my blog: http://blog.runtux.com/2010/04/19/163/ -- maybe elgg is the software we'll try next. Let's see what export methods ning will provide, so that we don't lose our work...
Steve Hardagon has responded to the new Ning leadership. These changes in the social landscape serve as reminders that this corporate model cannot serve communities anything like a globally open peer sharing model.
Steve Hardagon writes to Classroom 2.0 Educators:
“The news this past week of changes to Ning’s financial model, based on an internal memo and then confirmed on their blog, is reasonably causing concern in the education community. Ning has facilitated a pretty historic change in the connecting of educators, often in self-directed ways, through the ability to “create your own social network.”
I hope you’ll consider joining us tonight. I’ll try to make sure everything we do is documented on the http://www.EducationalNetworking.com wiki, and will post the recording from the event tonight on the front page there so that if you are not able to attend you can play or download the recording." The whole conversation is online now - as Elluminate session. 
In case you haven’t been following along, Junto is a concept we’ve been discussing for a global communications and collaboration platform. It starts with a simple interface, combining video chat with a text box and a twitter backchannel, all streaming in public, real-time. It could be used for any number of projects or goals – organizations could use it for open innovation or to show how they are taking social responsibility in the world, groups with similar initaitives could use it for huge group discussions and meetings in order to accelerate the process of organizing and taking projects from idea to action, and individuals could use it to engage in dialogue and create shared meaning and shared understanding across geographic and cultural barriers.
and wow, what an offer:
they host our content for free AND they do the migration!
well, why dont I immediately go for it? Well because I learned to be a bit careful.
PS: I saw that this group http://scifialmanac.ning.com went to grou.ps from NING and had a shock. I became member in the grou.ps group http://grou.ps/scifialmanac/people anyway, although the first thing it did it crashed my computer,
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The 4th of May Big Announcement on NING future is a big disappointment
that means: we have to say Goodbye to NING FranzNahrada
I know Oliver Überholz from various phone calls and I feel the mixxt people are serious. But their layout is sometimes a bit dreadful.
"Why can mixxt provide free social networking when Ning can not? mixxt has a completely different business model which provides us with a more versatile and stable revenue situation. Although the mixxt business model shares the Freemium Model with Ning (or at least used to), we also provide fully White Labeled networks for enterprises or large institutions. These Enterprise Communities provide high customisation, external integrations into CMS/CRM/ERP systems and custom SLAs. Our customers include ministries, pharmaceuticals, publishers, radio stations as well as universities and non-profits throughout Europe."
I tried to use the csv file but it has many flaws, a professional help would be appreciated.
MUCH MORE INFORMATION HERE: http://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/archive/2010/04/22/how-to-backup-your-ning-network-content.aspx
The DIY way of backing up is to execute wget --mirror --convert-links --html-extension http://MYNINGNAME.ning.com on any Linux/Unix/Mac? machine on the command line, replacing MYNINGNAME with the correct prefix. You’ll get a nice browsable offline copy of your Ning’s openly accessible content, which you can put online at any place where you can host normal html files.