Nings are everywhere. I’m not necessarily writing here about the virtue (or not) of the build your own social network tool. I’m in a few Nings, and technically/design-wise they have come along way from some of the first ones I recall 3 or 4 years ago when they first came out.
No, these is a mere observation, based upon an article.
No, not the written kind, the grammatical kind.
If you listen closely to the language of people who use these sites, especially from some students, you hear:
Now, we techies and teachers are aware there are lots on Nings (275,000 as of May 20, 2008 according to their blog), but to people who are heavily involved in one project or interest, there is only One, The Ning. Their Ning is THE Ning.
I don’t think this is trivial, but am open to disagreements or “so whats”. To me, it says that some is invested, and in the right sense has a feeling if ownership when it is “THE” Ning. Maybe not.
I recall this happened alot about 4 or 5 years ago when teachers started using blogs with their classes, not as much the kind of modern activity of students writing their own blogs, but in using a shared class/project blog, more often than not, the students referred to is as “THE” blog, not “a” blog, like it was the only one they knew. Did the ever say, “THE” Blackboard? Oops.
I am a pretty light Ning-er; I tap into a few interesting projects to review things, but am not all that active in them. I am cutely aware that it is not “THE” social network, and fear the further splintering of already fractured time- wondering about the Ning Death Syndrome (and please dont tell about how active your Ning is, I believe you).
At the same time, 275,000 Nings are not chump change. I actually have an outside of work interest that would make Ning ideal for what I have in mind. And in a recent mini interview I did with Vicki Davis she underscored how valuable her Ning was for the sharing of media and communications for the 2008 Flat Classroom Horizon Project. No, I am positive on Ning.
Or make that YOUR Ning ;-)
I am curious if there are other examples where technology ends up being referred to as “THE” ___________. Just curious, that’s all.
The last curious Ning Thing is the fact that one of its co-founders is rather subtle about involvement – the former Boy Wonder How Built Mosaic is a co-founder yet only his photo, no name, appears on the “About” page.
Maybe Mosaic was “THE” web browser… well at one time it truly was.