Time to start seeing other people?


Sometimes when you’re getting a little too cocky and pleased with yourself (see previous two posts) the universe decides to come along and give you a good old slap upside the head.

My slap upside the head came in the form of Marc Andreesen’s recent announcement that Ning would be discontinuing its free networks. This resulted in a veritable “twit-storm” (did I just coin a new Twitter word?) of activity, including a #bitemening hashtag and a Google Doc from the awesome Alec Couros
with some Ning alternatives.

I have created six different nings that I use throughout the school year with my English classes. My students LOVE them and I feel like I’m just tapping into the potential of this social networking platform. There’s no way I’ll be able to afford the premium account price of $20 a month for all my nings. Even if I just kept one per class and modified them, I’m still looking at $60 per month, and that would be out of pocket. Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand companies need to make a profit and if Ning’s current business model isn’t profitable, they need to make some changes but… but…

Ugh, I’m so disappointed. That’s all.

I was just getting some teachers really excited about the possibilities of using Ning in the classroom and now I know many of them will be frustrated and unwilling to try if they find out they’re going to have to pay.

I really hope that Ning will follow the lead of other companies like Wikispaces by providing free educator’s accounts, because I don’t want to have to stop using this amazing product.

So lesson learned. I’ll probably be a little more cautious next time before embracing “the next big thing”.

Here are some of the alternatives I’m just starting to explore if I have to give up on Ning:

  • Grou.ps-Looks kind of similar to Ning, and promises to stay “free”. But I’m bitter and jaded now.
  • Google groups-This looks okay, but my kids really like how similar Ning is to Facebook and this just doesn’t look similar enough.  I can’t tell if students can create their own profile pages.
  • Webs.com This gives me hope. It has more of the look my students like.
  • SocialGo Looks pretty appealing too.
  • Yuku Very cute! But it doesn’t seem like there are many features available in the free version. Also some of the features don’t look very school appropriate.

So the good news is, there are lots of options out there. The bad news is, who knows if they’ll suffer the same fate as Ning. For me, it’s not really a big deal to switch (provided that the alternatives give me the same kinds of features) because I’d be starting from scratch at the beginning of the next school year anyway. I’d just take some screen shots for exemplars. I hope to participate in Steve Hargadon’s Elluminate discussion this Tuesday on Ning. I’m sure there are lots of good ideas out there!

But if Ning were willing to provide educator accounts for free, or even for a $10/year per site cost, they’d keep my loyalty. I still think they have an awesome product.

I still love you, Ning I just think I may have to start seeing other people.

7 thoughts on “Time to start seeing other people?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Time to start seeing other people? | Barker Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. I’m joining you on the post-Ning dating scene. Although I never used Ning (was about to start), I too am looming for a new ‘online classroom’. Here’s hoping we have some luck.

  3. NO! It can’t be. You see, I’m not an adventurous Ninger. I’m not ready to branch out and be ning-iscuous. I was just settling into my monogamous relationship. And now the trust is broken. And I agree – if some teachers were a little reticent about technology but were starting to think about Ninging it, this may confirm their worst suspicions about the fickleness of the world online. :(
    What about English Companion? Please tell me I’m not going to have to pay to use it. Not that I’m cheap …

  4. No worries about the English Companion. It’s already a premium account so they’re fine. Users wouldn’t have to pay anyway, just the site creators. Like I said, I’ve got my fingers crossed that Ning will figure something out for teachers, but if not, I’m feeling more optimistic about the other sites that are out there.

  5. Thanks a lot for the websites I found another ning alternative here since Ning became paid listing alternatives should help some people out.