No more free nings

By Anne Collier

I saw a lot of sad tweets tonight about Ning’s announcement from tech educators I follow on Twitter – educators who created classroom “nings” (mini, user-created social-network sites), professional-development “nings” and activist “nings.” Creating a site on Ning will no longer be free, I read in CNET, “free” being just one of the service’s attractions to educators (and a whole lot of other people). I remember last fall hearing a speaker at the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg say that soon the country’s Education Ministry would be introducing Ning for teachers’ social networking nationwide (see this), and tonight Steve Hargadon of Elluminate and Classroom 2.0 blogged that Ning has been “a great springboard” for educational networking. Anyway, the news broke yesterday that Ning would be “cutting 40% of its staff and axing its free, ad-supported service,” according to CNET. Wrote TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid, to whom someone apparently sent the internal memo about the staff cuts from Ning’s CEO (published in full on that page), “I suspect we’ll see quite a few active networks jump to whatever the cheapest premium option is,” which may spell more fundraisers at schools lucky enough to have teachers setting up classroom nings! [Here’s my first post about Ning three years ago, “Mini-MySpaces: New phase,” with a comment from co-founder Marc Andreeson (even better known as co-creator of the first Web browser, Mosaic)!]

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