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Title:Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites | Ning lets you create your own social network for just about anything
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Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites | Ning lets you create your own social network for just about anything
Featured post
We鈥檝e Moved!
Thanks for visiting the Ning Blog archive. All the great content we鈥檝e posted over the years is here for your reading pleasure.
Our聽new blog is over at聽Visit us for all the community management best practices, webinar recordings,聽Ning News, community spotlights, and quick tips that are fit to print.
This entry was posted in General on May 16, 2013 by Blake Colwell.
How to Deal With Antagonistic Members
Many community managers are either too slow or too fast to remove antagonistic members. They either remove the antagonistic member without fully realizing the role this individual plays within the community, or they spend copious amounts of time trying to convert the antagonist into a happy member.
One community manager I spoke with a few weeks ago had recently spent half a day resolving a problem with antagonistic members. That鈥檚 insane, what happens when you have 20 antagonistic members a week? Are you going to spend ALL your time on your community鈥檚 unhappy participants?
Antagonistic members aren鈥檛 always bad. They can provoke discussions, highlight topics that other members were hesitant to address, put forward opposing (if unpopular) view- points, and prevent groupthink in communities. Communities where everyone agrees and gets along are dull.
Even the most antagonistic members can unite the community against them. This sounds crazy (and I鈥檝e received plenty of criticism for it), but a community united against a few individuals can actually derive benefits.
The question you need to ask is: Does this antagonistic member kill or boost discussions?
Antagonistic members might not be breaking any rules, but may still have to go simply by virtue of squelching every discussion they participate in. Otherwise, antagonistic members should be allowed to stay because they have a beneficial impact upon the community.
Don鈥檛 fall into the reactivity trap. Don鈥檛 get sucked in to spending hours of your time trying to deal with antagonistic members. Make quick decisions and take quick actions.
I often offer clients a six-step escalation process:
Do nothing. This is my favorite step. It doesn鈥檛 require much work. If neither the number of participating members nor the quantity of contributions is declining, let it slide.
Reason/befriend/distract. If the antagonistic member is clearly a problem, you react in one of three ways. First, if it鈥檚 likely they don鈥檛 realize they鈥檙e antagonizing members (this is surprisingly common, usually a personality issue), explain they need to tone their language down because members have been complaining. If they have a genuine grievance or concern, try to ask them what the real problem is and how you can help solve it.Finally, if they are focused upon one particular issue, distract them by giving them a column, or responsibility for a certain topic to express their viewpoint.
Suspend. If none of the above works, suspend the member and explain why.聽 Suspension can range from three days (one day isn鈥檛 enough) to one week. You can do this manually or use any system you like.
Ban. If after a suspension they still cause problems, remove them from the community. Lock the account or ban the IP address from registering an account.
Edit/Repel. Some members continue to register new accounts (or mask their IP address). They鈥檙e intent on causing trouble. Some community managers get caught in a cat-and-mouse game. They ban the new accounts and others continue to spring up. An endurance game, it continues until one side gets tired. It鈥檚 best left to volunteers. I鈥檝e had some success by editing comments posted by the member to something softer (usually complimenting other members).
Contact ISP/Police. If the member continues to return or is engaged in threatening/illegal activity, either contact their ISP or the police. You can jump straight to this stage if necessary.
The goal of this process is to move from one stage to the next whilst spending as little time on antagonistic members as possible. The danger is rarely antagonistic members themselves; it鈥檚 the amount of time you spend on them. Over time, you neglect your happy members and can lose many members as a result. Make sure that doesn鈥檛 happen to you.
Images courtesy of th02 and raidho36聽
This entry was posted in Community and tagged quot;best practices quot;, community management, conflict, moderation, Richard Millington on February 15, 2013 by Richard Millington.
Business Fights Poverty: A Community With a Cause
Business Fights Poverty was established in March of 2008 to pioneer new ways of fighting poverty utilizing economic and business opportunities by groups and individuals. Founder and Director, Zahid Torres-Rahman discovered and implemented the perfect platform for his idea through a chance conversation and a day鈥檚 worth of work. 鈥淎 technology guru friend of mine first told me about Ning over breakfast, and by dinner I had set up the community.鈥 Since its creation, the community has continued to evolve and expand its public profile. Business Fights Poverty has bloomed from 1,000 members after one year to more than 10,000 members today.
Openness, community, professionalism, respect, and integrity are the five core values that drive this vibrant network of聽business professionals, academics, philanthropists, and non-government organizations 鈥 all of whom share a passion for fighting poverty through business. Business Fights Poverty utilizes inspiring blogs from members, face-to-face events, and a powerful resource hub to captivate potential members and engage current ones. Their community also serves as the central station for public outreach via social outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. All these components have come together to make it the largest organization of its kind and a vital resource in the fight against poverty.
We reached out to Zahid Torres-Rahman to get the inside scoop on how his community has grown and helped created a brand with public impact:
What made you start your Ning community?
All around the world exceptional people are finding new ways to fight poverty 鈥 by creating new jobs and economic opportunities in low-income communities.聽聽 The challenge we set ourselves back in 2008 was to help turn these individual acts of inspiration into a broader movement for change.聽聽 We wanted to build a sense of community by connecting these intense, but often dispersed pockets of energy.聽 We wanted people to be able to find, engage with, learn from and be inspired by like-minded peers.聽 Ning made this all possible for us 鈥 by offering an affordable and easy way to build an online community.
Have you achieved this original objective?聽 How else has your community helped you and your business, brand or mission?
I think we have come a long way. We鈥檙e now the largest community of our kind, with a brand that is steadily growing in profile.聽 We publish a great story every day, and pretty much all of these come from community members.聽 We are increasingly active in the real world too, with face-to-face events and publications.聽 At the same time, I feel that we are only at the beginning of an exciting journey.聽聽 We are constantly trying to learn and improve.聽 We recently hired FeverBee, following a Ning webinar (which you can watch again here), and they have been giving us some great advice on enhancing our member engagement.
If you had to pick one measure of the success or impact of your community, what would it聽be?
We track all the usual metrics about visits and member engagement, but for me nothing beats the personal stories that I hear from members about howthe community has helped them 鈥 whether to find a new job; connect with potential project partners; or just to be inspired by what others are doing.聽 I enjoy reading what our Members of the Week say they聽hope to get out of being part of the community.
How long did it take your community to reach critical mass?
It took us a year to reach 1,000 and four more to reach 10,000.聽 But one thing we have come to appreciate is that it鈥檚 the number of actively engaged members that matters, and that鈥檚 where our energy is now focused.聽 The great thing about Ning is that by massively bringing down the costs of organizing online, it has made it possible to create successful, small, specialist communities.
What tactics drove the most growth and activity in your community?
We have focused our energy on three areas. The first has been on building the community brand.聽 We worked with professional graphic designers to develop a strong look and feel for the site, and we invest in great photography to illustrate stories on the site. The second area is around content.聽 We have put a lot of energy into our editorial calendar 鈥 to build up a strong flow of timely, high quality and interesting content, primarily from our own members.聽 We drive traffic to this content through our weekly broadcast messages, and we are also very active on Twitter (@FightPoverty) and other social media sites. The third area is around member engagement. Every year, we have an active programme of face-to-face and online events, such as webinars.聽 Through our 鈥淢ember of Week鈥 and 鈥淪tar Member鈥 initiatives, we profile our most active members.聽 We have high hopes for our new member鈥檚 Forum, and have other ideas in the pipeline to encourage member interaction.
What feature(s) are most important to your members?
Right now, our blog is the most popular feature on our site, followed by our events.聽 Over the next few months, we are looking to grow our forum as a way to generate more member-to-member engagement. We鈥檒l also be more closely integrating our offline and online activities 鈥 so for example, we鈥檒l be running online discussions linked to our face-to-face events. Following member feedback, we鈥檒l also be launching a jobs board.
Do you have any advice for other people building online communities?
We recognized early on that community management is a full-time and professional activity!聽 Continuous investment of time and effort is needed to encourage member activity and network growth. On top of that, listening and responding to what your members want is critical.聽聽 Recognizing when things are not working is important too! For us, we have been on a continuous learning journey, and are constantly looking to improve the site. I am a fan of the Ning Creators Network 鈥 and have picked up many great tips there.
What鈥檚 the craziest story you have about your community?
The craziest story is from our first day. A technology guru friend of mine first told me about Ning over breakfast, and by dinner I had set up the community. I was the first member and my wife was the second. I remember telling the third member 鈥 a colleague of mine who was working for a charity at the time, 鈥淚 know you are only member number 3, but I promise that one day there will be many more of us!鈥
There is an African proverb that has been an inspiration to me:聽if you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together. 聽For me that is at the heart of what the global Business Fights Poverty community is about, and I am excited about what the future holds. 聽I believe that for all the amazing things we are doing individually, if we can do more together 鈥 as part of a movement for change, the possibilities are limitless.
This entry was posted in Community, Ning Network Spotlight, Ning Voices, People Profiles and tagged Business Fights Poverty, Community Managment, network spotlight, Social Impact, Zahid Torres-Rahman on February 7, 2013 by Guest Blogger.
Scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, February 20 from 10pm-2am
We will be performing some planned maintenance on the Ning Platform on Wednesday, February 20, from 10pm-2am Pacific Time. During this time, all Ning Networks will be offline and display branded maintenance pages. will be down for maintenance as well.
We strive to offer a consistently high uptime and need to perform some crucial hardware and database updates to ensure that reliability continues. We also strive to keep longer planned maintenance windows like this one to a minimum and schedule them for low-traffic hours.
During this 4-hour window:
Your Ning Network will display a maintenance page matching your current theme customization to let your members know that your community is temporarily unavailable.
We will update the Ning Status Blog when this maintenance begins and ends.
Not sure when 10pm Pacific is in your time zone? Use Every Time Zone to find out!
You may want to let your members know about this downtime in advance via a Broadcast Message or notice on the Main Page of your network. Feel free to make use of the language below, filling in your network details.
Formal: We will be performing maintenance on [network_name] on Wednesday, February 20 between 10pm and 2am Pacific Time. During this time, [network_name] will be unavailable. We hope this won鈥檛 be too much of an inconvenience as we work to perform some necessary upgrades.
Informal: Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that we need to perform some simple but necessary maintenance on [network_name] on Wednesday, February 20. We鈥檒l need to take the site down at 10 p.m. Pacific for about 4 hours during which we鈥檒l simply show a message asking folks to check back later. Thanks in advance for your patience while we tune up the site!
This entry was posted in Maintenance and tagged maintenance on February 6, 2013 by Aaron Ilika.
How User Guidelines Help Your Community
By Patrick O鈥橩eefe
Online community guidelines detail the types of behaviors that are and are not appropriate on your community. They include things that some might consider obvious, but they also include items that are somewhat unique to you and your community. I liken an online community to a country. Each country has culture, laws and social norms that make it different from every other country.
I believe user guidelines are pretty important. Let鈥檚 discuss why.
They Level the Playing Field and Mitigate Uncertainty
The absence of guidelines leads to people making up their own or thinking that anything goes. With no official set of guidelines that is applied consistently, you instead get everyone else鈥檚 interpretation of what they believe 鈥渟hould鈥 be alright. In some cases, this may also lead to them defending their interpretation against the interpretation of another member. Certainly, that can get messy. But the uncertainty of it all is a big turn off because most people aren鈥檛 going to be the ones bold enough to try to set their own聽guidelines. They are more likely to join a timid group that is unsure of what is acceptable and, as such, just tries to play it as safe as possible. For some, this will just mean that they decide to go elsewhere,聽to another community that has a more established structure that matches with what they are looking for in a community.
Good guidelines, like good rules and laws, tend to help us to all participate on a level playing field.Once we know the ground rules, we are free to express ourselves in a manner that respects them. Some may view guidelines as restrictive but, just as much, they free people up because they no longer need to worry about what might or might not be OK.
(Some) People Look for Them
Now, I know what you are thinking. 鈥淣o one reads them.鈥 You鈥檝e probably heard someone say it before. However, the truth is that some people do read them. I鈥檓 not saying it is a lot of people, but some members do seek them out, especially new members, but also veterans in search for a refresher. Those people who do look for them are trying to do the right thing. They want to make sure that something is OK. This is why it is not only important to have guidelines, but to link them in visible areas, such as your header, footer, near areas where contributions are made (like reply boxes), in staff member signatures, etc. If everyone knows where they are housed, it maximizes the usefulness of your guidelines.
They Serve as a Vision Statement (of Sorts)
Community guidelines are a living document and, more than a set of rules, they speak to the type of community you are and the audience that will most appreciate what you have to offer. No community is for everyone. Even a community for everyone isn鈥檛 because not everyone wants that. Your guidelines help to demonstrate this and help people to come to that understanding sooner. Vision statements tell people where an organization wants to go in the future. Your guidelines should speak to that. And if a part of your guidelines ever stops speaking to that, you should change it.
They Give You Something to Refer To
This may be the biggest one. If you try to apply any sort of standards to your community and you don鈥檛 have any sort of public guidelines, it feels unfair and arbitrary. How can people know that something violates the guidelines if there aren鈥檛 any guidelines? If you remove content without guidelines to refer members to, then it looks like you are removing content based on imaginary rules that only exist in your head. It doesn鈥檛 inspire confidence. When you remove content, you notify the person who posted it and tell them why. When you tell them why, you include a link to your guidelines, so they can see the publicly posted standards that all members must adhere to.
To sum it up, having guidelines isn鈥檛 about making sure that everyone reads them. Instead, they exist to serve as a point of reference, so that everyone knows what standards exist and what is expected. There is no guess work, there is no mystery. This helps to create an environment of honesty and fairness.
Patrick O鈥橩eefe is the author of聽鈥淢anaging Online Forums,鈥澛燼 practical聽guide to managing online聽communities, and聽鈥淢onetizing Online Forums,鈥 a guide to generating revenue from them in the right way. He blogs at聽ManagingCommunities.com聽and can be found on Twitter at聽@iFroggy.
Images courtesy of聽OregonDOT聽and聽mtsofan
This entry was posted in Community, General, Guest Posts and tagged quot;best practices quot;, quot;community guidelines quot;, quot;patrick o'keefe quot;, quot;vision statement quot;, community management, guidelines on January 22, 2013 by Guest Blogger.
20 Conversation Starters That Will Get Your Community Talking
Are you struggling to stimulate activity in your online community?聽Do you have lots of members but little participation? Try asking the sorts of questions that stimulate discussion in every online community.
Here are 20 to get you started:
What is your favourite 鈥︹︹. ?聽Asking members about their favourite anything will stimulate a response. Try it.
What is your average day like?聽People love to talk about themselves. Ask them what their average day is like and they鈥檒l tell you. They鈥檒l also compare it with anyone else that answers.
What do you think about 鈥︹︹.?聽Giving opinions is human nature. When you ask for opinions you鈥檒l get a lot.
What advice would you give to the person above you? Careful about these. Can stimulate a lot of activity, can also get way out of hand. Useful for a light-hearted touch to your community efforts.
Can anyone recommend 鈥︹︹.?聽People like to be helpful and show off knowledge. Asking for recommendations will solicit knowledge and engagement from users.
What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you whilst 鈥︹︹β?聽Self explanatory. Let members share their stories. It鈥檒l almost certainly boost activity and return visits. Members will slowly get to know and like each other.
Can anyone fix 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Present a difficult problem, let members try to suggest ways to fix it.
What is the best/worst 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Opinions, opinions, opinions. Solicit them in as many different ways as possible. Pick a sub-category and ask people for their best/worst suggestions.
Who do you most admire?聽Pick someone in your niche you most admire and tell others why.
聽Is {x} really better than {y}?聽Make it controversial. Pick an issue members will be split on 鈥 but not divisively so. Ask questions about it. Let people take sides.
If you weren鈥檛 鈥︹︹β爓ould you 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Create a hypothetical situation in which all members can give their opinion on something radical.
Who/What are your top 5 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Ranking is addictive. Ask people to rank their top 5 anything and then try to create an overall ranking based upon the community.
How would you handle {topical issue}?聽If your members in charge, how would they handle a topical issue in your sector?
What 鈥︹︹.聽do you use?聽Relevant in almost all online communities, ask people to compare what relevant products/services they use. Companies love this information too.
Does anyone know how to 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Does anyone know provokes interest, the how to can be broad or specific. People are likely to participate.
Has anyone tried鈥︹︹. ?聽Again, has anyone is all-encompassing and people are likely to share their experiences.
Is 鈥︹︹.聽right about 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Take someone鈥檚 stance on a topical issue and throw it open to comment by the entire community.
What would you do if 鈥︹︹.聽?聽Create a hypothetical situation, perhaps a problem lots of people face, and ask members what they would do. Life problems work well here.
What should every newcomer know about 鈥︹︹.?聽Well, what should every newcomer know about something relevant in your sector? It鈥檚 great advice 鈥 perfect for a sticky-thread.
Share your pictures/top tips here.聽Sharing advice and pictures can be an easy win for stimulating activity. Try it. I suspect you will find it easy to gain lots of valuable insights.
Your mileage with any of these questions will vary depending upon the topic sector and the progress of your community. However, if you鈥檙e looking to generate some activity, you can try a few of these basic conversation starters to get going.
The more open-ended the question, the more everyone can participate. When you post a question, try prodding a few members to reply and get the activity started.
Images courtesy of聽Zorba the Geek and Horia Varlan
This entry was posted in Community, Guest Posts on January 16, 2013 by Richard Millington.
Looking Back at 2012: Identifying Success
As the year comes to a close, it鈥檚 a great time to look to a few Ning Networks that have had great success throughout 2012 for inspiration. We asked Network Creators on our Creators Network to let us know how their year went, and we received some exciting stories of success and lessons learned.
These Ning Networks were led by creative, hard-working teams and have achieved their own forms of success due to their dynamic leadership. Using the words of Network Creator, Armani Rouse: 鈥淭here isn鈥檛 a hack for had work and creativity!鈥
The eCoronado team showing off their schwag! is the most popular newspaper website and online community resource for Coronado, Calif. During 2012, the eCoronado team looked beyond their online tools and developed successful strategies to incorporate their community with offline events/ giveaways/ discount cards/ sponsors/ pretty-much-anything-they-set-their-mind-to.
In brief, they hired two paid聽writers, a site admin, and interviewed many candidates to bring on their聽13th intern.聽They now have 20+ paid sponsors and have launched over 40 physical photo/scavenger hunt聽contests聽to drive activity. In their spare time, they hosted an聽anniversary party聽and bought hundreds of local members ice cream, created a聽local discount card聽in partnership with public schools and started rewarding聽top photo contributors聽with badges and聽company schwag.
We鈥檙e not sure when the team finds time sleep between advancing their development strategy and hosting ice cream giveaways!
Some networks define their success by the number of members they attract, while has amassed 24,500+ members, this is not where they see their triumph. The IAVA community is part of the largest nonprofit organization helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
The IAVA community team sees their triumph in the very real resources they have developed for their members. They implemented a Crisis Response SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) this year which was used to connect members with suicidal urges to life-saving resources. As Jason, the Network Creator, puts it: 鈥淩unning a mental health / veteran network provided endless excitement. It鈥檚 been a crazy year on our network.鈥
They also had the opportunity to personally officiate a wedding of two long-time and active members of the community 鈥 who actually met because of the network 鈥 and secure a couple of grants to get some part-time support and a redesign for 2013. We look forward to continue to hear inspiring stories from this community in 2013. If you鈥檇 like to support聽an organization that Time magazine says remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans, please head to their聽donate聽page.
Image by Riccardo Rossini
Italian photographer network defines its success by the聽elegant, clean and efficient community they have created thanks to their decision this year to enable the option to have all new photos approved by administrators before they become visible. Riccardo believes this enables fotografiapuntodincontro.com聽to deliver the highest quality photos to enrich the member experience. 鈥淲e are proud to offer in Italy something different about photography site, thanks to approval photo.鈥
Check out some of their featured photos;聽they truly are stunning. We鈥檒l be keeping an eye on their network to see them grow and to enjoy more of their masterful shots in 2013.
PARENT-CHAT.COM is looking for founding members.
Three weeks ago, self-proclaimed web novice Jennifer realized her dream of managing an online parenting community with聽Having no experience whatsoever,聽she set about getting her network up and running and now has a solid founding-member base. The Network Creator, Jennifer, promises: 鈥淚 am only related to 5 of them!鈥 Creating something tangible from an abstract idea is definitely a great leap forward, so we鈥檇 like to congratulate for launching their network in 2012!
Defining Success for Your Community in 2013
It鈥檚 important to remember that each community defines success differently. The end of the year marks a great point to look at your own community and decide what you define as success. Whether it is defined by page views, engagement, or financial profit, we wish you the best of luck in 2013!
This entry was posted in Community, People Profiles on December 27, 2012 by Mayra Pacheco.
鈥淗ow to Grow an Online Community鈥 鈥 Recorded for Those Who Missed It
This week, we held the second webinar in our series with Richard Millington, one of the most respected voices in the field of community management. The first one was about increasing activity, and it was definitely the most successful webinar Ning has ever held. If you missed it, you can find it on YouTube or Vimeo. I absolutely recommend sitting down with a cup of something and watching it if you want to hear about increasing engagement in your community. It was a good one.
This one was a good one, too! And, like the last one, Richard gave away a PDF version of half of his new book, Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities. I鈥檝e been reading the book (and online reviews of the book)聽and it鈥檚 getting a great reception, as it should. It鈥檚 got a lot of advice that no one tells you when you start out managing a community, but even better than that it points to a lot of social science studies that put data behind ideas and hunches. Richard has a knack for pointing out things that question conventional wisdom and make you realize that conventional wisdom can be completely bogus. Simply put: His book is an excellent resource, and we鈥檙e thrilled to have Richard sharing his expertise with Ning Creators.
Or anyone else! Richard鈥檚 talks aren鈥檛 specific to Ning. Whether you鈥檙e a Ning customer, someone who runs a community on some other platform, or just someone who鈥檚 curious about how community works 鈥 or should work 鈥 we hope you鈥檒l get something good out of this talk. Give it a watch!
How to Grow an Online Community聽from聽Ning聽on聽Vimeo.
A few things covered in this talk:
Should you grow your online community? You might be surprised to hear a contrary view from Richard when it comes to some kinds of communities.
Assuming you can answer that last one in the affirmative, Richard gives you 5 reasons you should grow and 4 channels you should use.
Word of mouth, promotion 鈥 and how to make sure all that effort isn鈥檛 wasted.
Very few people are able to effectively convert visitors into members. Richard shows you how to ensure more registered members participate.
This entry was posted in Community, Company on December 14, 2012 by Eric Suesz.
Decorating Your Online Community for the Holidays
If you run an online community, what are you doing to mark the season? The last candle of the Menorah will be lit on Saturday, and many are eagerly awaiting a visit from St. Nick.聽Historically, there is a sharp downturn in web traffic for non-ecommerce websites around Christmas time. A jolly atmosphere that reflects shifts in your real-world environment creates new potential to bridge this lull and may even boost engagement in your community.聽Give members a reason to spread the joy with you.
Brick and mortar establishments don鈥檛 have a monopoly on holiday decorations. You can break out the twinkly lights, poinsettias and dreidels and set your online community ablaze with winter warmth and merriment.
Consider your community, however鈥攜ou鈥檒l want to update the look of your network聽in a way that adds holiday spirit but doesn鈥檛 overshadow your members鈥 main reason for visiting.聽Adding animated auto-play carolers to the main page could scare some people off, but including a festive banner, virtual mistletoe or twinkly lights can be charming and memorable.
Twinkly lights with CSS
Ning Superstar soaringeagle shared the following CSS code that you can use to make twinkly lights brighten up聽your community.
#xn_bar,.xg_theme .xg_module_head {background-image:url(鈥渉ttp://鈥);background-repeat:repeat-x;}
See the festive holiday decoration live聽here.
Snowstorm with JavaScript
Scott Schillman has been 鈥渂ringing snow to the web since 2003.鈥澛燛ven if you鈥檙e in Australia this December, you can enjoy a light snowfall with Schillman鈥檚聽JavaScript hack. To add the snow effect to your network, you鈥檒l need to聽upload the original file, grab the new URL for the snowstorm, paste it into the code (see below), and then add that code to the Custom Code section on the dashboard of your network.聽If this sounds complicated, head to our Creators community for some extra聽guidance.
lt;script type=鈥漷ext/javascript鈥 src=鈥漅eplace-this-text-with-the-snowstorm-URL鈥 gt; lt;/script gt;
Seasonal header or banner images
Don鈥檛 want to introduce a cold front or controlled blizzard into your community? You鈥檝e got options! You can pack quite a holiday punch into a banner or redesigned header image.
If you鈥檙e not already using the Instant Ad Boxes on your network, you can repurpose them for just about anything鈥攈oliday banners included. The Instant Ad Boxes are as versatile as a text box and up to three times as wide. To open up space above and below the header on your network, head to Dashboard gt; Settings gt;聽Features Layout. The, check the box(es) next to Instant Ad Boxes (at the bottom of the page) and click 鈥淪ave.鈥
Next, you鈥檒l need to find your holly jolly imagery.聽Creative Commons聽has a great search tool that will help you find images licensed for commercial reuse and modification.聽Christmas Stock Images聽is another helpful resource this time of year. If you want these graphics to stretch across the width of the page, resize them to 960px.
You can thread season鈥檚 greetings throughout your community by adding similarly themed images to text boxes elsewhere on the main page. Or, maybe try this: Update the default member profile image to a snowman.
Holiday-themed discussions
Invite your members to share tidbits of their own. Most embarrassing holiday moments? Most magnificent holiday moments? Favorite holiday cookie recipes?聽Point visitors to these timely discussions by linking directly to them from a text box on the main page. If you鈥檝e already got a tight-knit group, you can use the Forum or a Message Broadcast to start a gift exchange or mobilize a charitable event.
When you鈥檙e taking down the decorations this year, leave a little something behind. The new year is a great opportunity to thank all your members for making the community what it is today. You can hang a 鈥楤est Wishes鈥 note to express your gratitude and issue one more gesture of good will before it鈥檚 back to business as usual.
Custom NingBot holiday cards
Head to to assemble your own NingBot holiday card. Choose a backdrop and dress up your NingBot with a rosy nose, elf shoes, a corncob pipe, nerdy glasses, angel wings, bunny slippers鈥he list goes on. Include a personal note and send season鈥檚 greetings to friends and loved ones who make your spirit bright.
Happy holidays!
Images courtesy of聽sammydavisdog聽and聽Christmas Stock Images
This entry was posted in Community, General, Ning Tricks and tagged Christmas, community, decoration, design, holiday, seasonal on December 13, 2012 by Allison Leahy.
Earth: The Biggest Community of All
One of our absolute favorite movements/sites/events/unique-things-that-can鈥檛-be-pigeon-holed-into-a-simple-category is One Day on Earth. If you haven鈥檛 heard of it, it involves many thousands of people (anyone who wants to participate, really)聽from all over the world filming snippets of video on one single day. People record what they think, what they do, what they need, what they love 鈥斅爓hatever鈥檚 on their mind. Then, everyone uploads their clip to create a compelling time capsule that may just live forever. After the big day is done, the people behind the One Day on Earth project get to work editing it all into a movie masterpiece. It鈥檚 a brilliant idea that we look forward to at Ning every year.
I first stumbled across this Ning-driven site in 2010. I thought 10/10/10 was a very neat and brilliant idea. Since then, they鈥檝e kept going. It鈥檚 no flash in the pan. On 11/11/11, they expanded their reach by sending 1,000 video cameras to places around the world where cameras are hard to come by. This year, they鈥檝e gone even further and created a full-length film that compiles the past two years鈥 footage, which聽debuted on Earth Day earlier this year.
One Day on Earth is only going to get bigger, and you can be part of it. There鈥檚 still plenty of time to join in and participate (6 more days, in fact). Chances are you can accomplish this by simply taking video footage with your phone.
So, what are you waiting for? Take 15 minutes out of your day next Wednesday to film something extraordinary 鈥斅爋r even just plain ordinary. Show the world who you are, where you live, what you do, what you care about 鈥 anything that鈥檚 important to you. If you鈥檙e a Ning customer, we鈥檝e got an even better idea: Why not encourage your community to join in and film yourselves doing whatever it is all of you do best.
Everyone who contributes at least one minute of footage gets to watch the final film! But more importantly, everyone who participates gets to be part of something bigger than themselves. It鈥檚 community on the grandest scale imaginable. And it only costs a little bit of creativity.
One Day on Earth 鈥 Film on 12.12.12 from One Day on Earth on Vimeo.
Are you an educator? Get the toolkit and make this happen!
This entry was posted in Community on December 5, 2012 by Eric Suesz.
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