To Ning Network Creators

Let me start by introducing myself. I’m Troy D Bertrand a.k.a TDB. I’m a former Ning Network Creator and founder of Ex Creators – a support network developed for those who have found or seeking an alternative to Ning. I defected from Ning in the Summer of 2013 shortly after Ning announced their plans to phase out version 2.0 of their platform in favor of version 3.0. We’re all pretty much familiar with the Ning 3.0 saga so I won’t be getting into details about my reasons for leaving.

I’ve always admired the sense of fellowship on creators.ning.com. Yes, we had disagreements and the occasional heated arguments but at the end of the day we always stood united towards the common cause – the betterment of the Ning Platform. The fight to improve the Ning platform has never been tougher and for a lot of network creators the fight for improvement seems like a lost cause. Many have already packed up and left and many more are currently planning an exit strategy. There’s a sizeable number of network creators who would love to leave but their networks are built on Ning 3.0 and unfortunately that version of the platform does not have an archive tool available. That’s makes it next to impossible to migrate their network and starting over isn’t an option for most.

I vision the day when switching platforms will be as simple as switching cell phone service providers. Remember the days when this used to be a hassle? Changing providers meant losing your phone number and all your contacts…it meant starting over. Things have changed for the better in that industry and many other industries because we demanded better.  I believe we’ll get to that point in the world of social web platforms some time in the not so distant future. We’ve already started paving the way for this change.

Software Platforms – The Way to Go

Software base social web platforms are the only platforms that grants true ownership of your community and its contents. You’re free to do whatever you want. You won’t be forced to upgrade or move. The future of your network will not be dependent on the future of company.

 

In theory, it’s possible to do anything on a software based platform that grants full access to its source codes, and that includes building export tools (archivers) and import tools. To accomplish these “things” you’ll either need to:
1. Know how to do it  yourself.
2. Know someone that could do it for you at no cost.
3. Have the money to pay someone to do it for you.

One of our members is working on a backup plan for his Ning network in the event Mode Media decides to pull the plug on Ning. His choice of platform is Drupal. He intends to use Drupal Commons (social networking extension) to power his community. He faced a bit of a problem… there is was no available import tool that would allow him to migrate his Ning 2.0 Network to Drupal so he overcame that obstacle by building one…kind of like how the Jamroom Devs built a “spur of the moment” Ning to Jamroom Importer . We can employ this same principle to move across platforms at will.  Obstacle like these are not that hard to overcome in the world of software platforms and that’s just one of the many advantages of choosing software based platforms over turnkey solutions like Ning.

Afraid of venturing into the world of software platforms? Your concerns are well warranted but you won’t be alone in your ventures. Ex Creators is here to help.

You’re Cordially Invited to Join us on Ex Creators

Knowledge Gets Better with Time: My knowledge of and experiences with the various social web platforms have improved significantly over the past two years. I’ve consulted many Ning Network Creators and guided them in their quest to find their ideal alternative to Ning. Each individual and their network has unique needs but the questions and concerns are basically the same. I’m Pro SocialEngine but I’ll never try to force it down your throat. I only seek to dispel the myths and deliver the facts and I do this for every platform, not just SocialEngine. Having said that, I will say that I still believe SocialEngine PHP is the best alternative for those looking to migrate their Ning 2.0 networks.

We can stand divided on choice of platform while at the same time standing united for the common cause – Having the power to bring about positive change. Choose your platform>gather support>improve your platform.

Choose Your Platform – The quest to find a suitable replacement for your Ning Network can be a daunting task. Ex Creators is the perfect place for platform exploration. I’ve gathered in depth knowledge on the workings of most of the viable platforms available through my years of platform exploration. I can help you narrow down the field of options by recommending a few top picks based on your budget, network requirements and web skills among other factors or you can use our unique Platform Comparison Tool (beta) to help you choose.

Gather Support – You found your ideal platform, why keep it to yourself? Others are still looking and they may be awaiting feedback from people like you to help them make their decision. Gathering support for a platform will help in more ways than one. A platform with a large user base will generate a better community support system. This will be great for those looking for help in solving common platform related issues and for getting platform specific tips and tricks.

Improve Your Platform – There are some very talented developers among us and with their help we can achieve great things. We’ll hire help for the things we’re not able to do for ourselves. A developer may charge a hefty price for the creation of a single plugin but we can offset the high cost by teaming up and pooling our resources together. A plugin being developed at the cost of $1500 can be reduced to $50 on a per person basis if just 30 people combined their resources. The per person cost can go even lower with more support.

Joining Ex Creators does not necessarily mean abandoning Ning. You won’t be committing to anything. It’s OK to explore your options and put a backup plan in place just in case. Come join us. Ask questions, get answers, weigh your options, make your decisions now or later.

We look forward to you being a part of the Ex Creators Community

Kind Regards

TDB
Ex Creators Dot Com

Letter to Ning Creators Network