Setting Up a Community On Ning

My running group has been bugging me to set up a website for the last year because I am the ‘social media guy’ and the most technology-savvy runner in the group.

I have experimented off-and-on with various options and hosting solutions, and I finally settled on using Ning last night.   In less than 30 minutes, I set up my Ning, invited a couple of runners, and added a couple of blog posts and discussion topics.  It was so simple.

According to a blog post from Ning, I was just one of 3,000 social networks set up on Ning yesterday:

We just passed 850,000 social networks on Ning and we couldn’t be more excited. We love checking out the new and interesting social networks popping up – at the rate of over 3,000 each day, and about 100,000 in the past month alone. Wow!

Here’s what I like about Ning:

  • it’s free
  • it’s easy to set up
  • it had the key community features I wanted – blogs, forum, notes, pictures
  • I could create a totally private group (off the grid)
  • There are other 3rd party apps you can incorporate

Ning also lets you change your community theme – and if you’re adventurous you can even edit the CSS style sheets.  The minor downside is that the free version includes Google ads in the right navigation panel.

There are also premium options that you can pay for which include the ability to turn off ads ($24.95 per month) and use your own URL ($4.95 per month).

Wall-Nut Community on Ning

Wall-Nut Community on Ning

Ning is not for everyone and I wouldn’t use it for my professional communities, but you should definitely consider it if you need to create a small community or website for a small group or team.

Mark Your Calendars for Project 100 – 4/6/09

Project 100

Project 100

I wanted to provide an update on Project 100 where 100 social marketing experts were asked to write a 400 word article on the topic.  I wrote an article for this book last October and the date for the book’s availability is starting to get close.   The coordinator for the project, Jeff Caswell, emailed me yesterday saying that the book will be available on April 6, 2009. 

As a reminder, I wrote about my Four Community Ideals:

  • Be transparent
  • Be personal
  • Be compelling
  • Be omnipresent
I will provide more details about how you can support the book as the publication date gets closer.  All proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Social Marketing Haiku

My friend Aaron Strout issued a challenge on his blog and on Twitter today to come up with the best definition of social marketing in 100 words or less.

Best answer (as voted on by my two colleagues) gets a $20 iTunes or Starbucks card (your choice). Please submit your 100 word (or less) submission in the comments below. If you don’t want to submit your choice publicly, e-mail me at stroutmeister AT gmail DOT com.

Within several hours, Aaron received over 30 submissions, including mine:

Social Marketing by Tom Humbarger
all voices are heard
I is we and mine is ours
everyone helping

I’m gunning for the Starbucks card…but feel free to join in the fun!

WWGD – What Would Google Do?

Business Week - 2/9/2009

Business Week - 2/9/2009

I picked up a latest copy of Business Week magazine when I was traveling last week because I was snared by the cover story – “Could Google Fix Detroit?”.

The article was an excerpt from Jeff Jarvis’ new book called “What Would Google Do?”. The article talked about how Google may be able to apply their management techniques to the Big 3 Automakers.  While some of the suggestions are intriguing, most of Detroit’s ills would not be served by Google taking over the industry.  For example, Google has no experience with an embedded union workforce and the issues that come arise from dealing with a large retiree base.

In any case, here are some management tips that have served Google well.  Most of these can be applied to other situations and industries too.  In fact, many of these tips are social media-based suggestions that could be applied just as easily to a social media initiative.

  • Manage abundance, not scarcity
  • Make mistakes well
  • Give up control
  • Get out of the way
  • Low prices are good (free is better)
  • Don’t be evil

Here’s a video of Jeff discussing his book:

Here are some other resources: