Friday, February 5, 2010

Ning Nut or Nuts to Nings?

I have become a kind of Johnny Appleseed of Nings this year. And after my staff in-service presentation, a thousand flower-nings bloomed.

All sorts of folks have let me know about their Nings. They have started them up in their classes, for their departments, or even for their families! This is ironic at two levels: 1) I really haven't really pushed this particular social platform. 2) Most of the Nings that I have joined through school have one active participant-- me!

I have written before about my frustration with starting the Blog Squad club with a Ning. I had dozens of students join but very little participation after joining. More recently, I have joined Nings that were started by the chairs in my two academic departments. I have posted a number of discussion threads and items to each one. But no one else is really using these virtual meeting places, let alone responding to my posts.

Between you and me, the Nings could almost completely replace our physical meetings. So this is a bit of a head-scratcher for me since I find many such meetings to be time-wasters and would rather participate on my own terms with the Nings. So I'm going to be a bit stubborn about this. Both departments have asked me to help out with some techie issues. And I will......But the help will be channled through their poor neglected Nings, not through some watch-the-paint-dry meeting. We'll see if this helps to reactivate the Nings (You can count on me to keep your posted). As usual, I welcome your reactions and insights!
"May 8 - Multi-Color Ning" Flickr Creative Commons photo by Paul Robert Lloyd (old)


Ann Lusch said...

Let it be known for the record that my department Ning (with my own little introductory video) was underway before we even set foot in Mercy in the fall!

But it has been frustrating, too, even though we have used it to a certain extent. One problem is that e-mail notifications were erratic. I don't know if that's been fixed or not -- but dept. members (and I personally checked their settings) were not getting notification of action on the Ning. I wasn't going to ask them to check it every day, although maybe that would be a reasonable request if we ever really get going with it.

But I was surprised and encouraged at a recent meeting when we were discussing an issue, and someone ELSE said, "We could discuss this on the Ning!"

Lynn Waldsmith said...

I agree that Nings have value, but I still think there is -- or at least can be -- greater value in face-to-face meetings. We usually meet as a department, for example, only once every few cycles, and often that is the only time we actually see each other, given our busy schedules. Depending on the subject matter, it can sometimes be more cumbersome to write comments on a Ning than to share, brainstorm and respond to ideas in real time through face-to-face conversation. Nings have their place, but I wouldn't want to see them completely replace human interaction within the school. I think technology does enough of that outside of school as it is.

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