When I first came across the social networking platform from Ning some time ago, I really didn’t think much about it. There’s already Facebook – why would anyone need something else? You already get to decide who sees your information. Sure Facebook is already starting to stagnate and is less then perfect when it comes to connecting content to ads, but the motivation to start something else seems to be an effort not worth exploring. That changed when I was invited to the Purple List that is another node in the PSFK empire. It’s an invite only group that connects people that have diverse backgrounds though probably have more in common then they think. It’s only been up for about a week but it’s fascinating to watch how the activity and growth has grown.
Ning has created a platform that takes on familiar cues like friending people that are in the same list, but takes off some of the handcuffs that Facebook has. I’m a big fan of customization which Piers has worked out perfectly, though what’s even better is that you don’t have to customize elements if you don’t want to. There’s a nice balance between letting people take their knowledge of one platform and tweaking it for their purposes. Am I going to create my own group from Ning? Probably not at this point b/c there isn’t much of a need. If I was in an organization or group or even working on a project, something like this could potentially challenge other platforms like Basecamp perhaps. As much as I’m pushing the technology, the reason why the Purple List will work has everything to do with the people behind it, not the web site. It’s a creative enough group of people that there’s motivation to test its limits to see what’s possible.