i am a fan of ning because you can create your own social network. a lot of schools are playing around with it for setting up class and organization networks. it allows them to pass the work off to someone else. brilliant! as with all social networks, it will have growing pains. it might not ever be the "it" spot online, or the jewel of social networking, but it certainly serves it's purposes for people looking to create a group that allows profiles, message boards, info sharing and the like, to do so quickly and for free.
I am not sold that this is an "issue." It seems to me, that basically the Ning site is here now for those that like the format. So why not keep both (Ning, and ListServ) in existence for a while, and see which one fades out. Seems like the situation would solve itself. I myself am probably much more likely to use this, over the listserv.
The listserv has quickly just become another email in my inbox, that gets deleted almost instantly most days. I hate deleting 15 out-of-office replies if I do make a comment, and as most have said, the search functionality might as well be nonexistent.
The social network at least gives me a way to login, and check discussions when I want, and pass on days when I really don't have time. Sure it's another account to manage, but I think we are almost past the point of worrying about such things. EVERYTHING is web based now, and that just means more and more accounts. ;) PLUS...we get to see each others ugly mugs ;)
For me, the ListServ is a way to exchange information and ask questions. NIng not only does this, but allows us to build relationships. Depending on your point of view, you may think this is a good thing or a bad thing. (I think it's a great thing).
Through the power of RSS, it's fairly easy to monitor all of your online activities in one place. I know longer have my e-mail inbox open all day, but instead use my start page to pull in all my information, include e-mail.
Any by the way, I think seeing our ugly mugs is a good thing. It helps make these relationships more personal.
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Cody Bryant is now a member of University Web Developers