Introducing the “Ning-tranet”

Over the last year we’ve helped several clients deploy social networks on the Ning platform. Our early Ning deployments were elegant, but traditional: we helped member organizations create rich, dynamic online member communities. Recently, we’ve been breaking out of that box.

Earlier this year, we customized an instance of Ning for FIRST Credit Union in British Columbia, creating a social network that enables their staff to meet up and share ideas online. The project included a custom design (implemented via CSS), custom home page components (via the Ning API), and some creative hiding and renaming of core features (using CSS and JavaScript).

A Lesson in Seeding Content
Chirp! - A Ning Social NetworkThis implementation was a great example of how “seeding” (or “pre-populating”) a network with real content can kick-start a community. Partnering with our client, we created user accounts for every employee – corporate photo and all. They created a series of forum categories with several posts in each. The CEO posted his first entry on his internal blog. A small group of “Beta Testers” filled out their profiles and posted discussions and comments. Images from recent company events were uploaded as albums. Even a was embedded on the front page.

This up front energy and investment created an exceptional experience for new users once the official launch invitations went out. New members entered a community abuzz with activity, with almost two hundred colleagues already engaged. User photos were everywhere, items were already posted for sale in the “Buy and Sell” forum, there were posts about upcoming events, baby announcements, and more.

Needless to say, their social-network centric Intranet, or “Ning-tranet”, is off to a great start.

5 Responses to “Introducing the “Ning-tranet””

  1. says:

    Hey! I was doing some research on this topic this weekend, because I’m thinking about setting up a Ning/intranet for my company. How’s it working for you guys so far?

  2. Christopher Murray says:

    Hi Ben – I think we can call this implementation a real success. But, a “Ning-tranet” is not for everyone. It won’t get you calendar sharing or document versioning or project management tools (traditional “intranet” functionality). What it will get you is a rich platform for letting employees interact socially: tools for management to keep people posted on internal news, an electronic version of the company bulletin board where people can post whatever they like, a running list of birthdays, etc.

    As with any technology implementation, you should start with a careful review of current company needs and future company goals. Once you have that down and the needs prioritized, selecting the software becomes the easy part.

  3. says:

    That’s fantastic. Thanks for the update. I’m basically looking for a way to keep employees updated and involved with company events, because more than 3/4 of the employees are off-site. I think allowing them to meet coworkers (that they would never otherwise interact with!) via the Ning platform would be an excellent way to foster a community.

    Thanks again. Keep up the great work!

  4. Christopher Murray says:

    It sounds like Ning could be a great choice. If you’d like some expert help with getting an intranet off the ground, we’d love to hear from you.

  5. Hello Christopher, your information was very valuable.
    Thank you!