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We (the Ning “we”) are seriously excited to finally unveil the first public iteration of the result of long hours of work over the past few months: a new mobile social communication service called Mogwee.
Mogwee is messaging, playfulness and usefulness, all bundled together, all in your mobile device, in real-time, 1-on-1 or in groups. You can share photos or videos, and soon we will add the ability to view nearby restaurants and movies so you can quickly figure out where to go next with your friends.
Mogwee is currently available for iPhone and iPad. Android is coming soon, as are mobile web and RIM versions (although I personally don’t have confirmation about the latter). Go get the app and join in, let us know if you run into any issues, and keep in touch (both at Facebook and Twitter).
- Ning Launches Slick New Mobile Social Tool Called Mogwee, TechCrunch
- Ning’s Andreessen and Rosenthal Talk About New Social Chat Service Mogwee, WSJ, All Things Digital, BoomTown
- App Watch: Ning Tries to Turn Smartphones Into Social Networks, WSJ Digits Blog
- Ning Launches A Whole New Business: A Mobile Chat App Called “Mogwee”, San Francisco Chronicle
- Ning returns with free mobile app, USA Today
- Ning launches Mogwee, a mobile social app of its very own, VentureBeat
Additionally, check out Jason’s post on the Ning blog, Meet Mogwee.
In recent moths, we (“we” as in Ning) have started to open up some of our code to the community at large. There is quite a bit of useful stuff in there (23 public repositories and counting), compliments of powerhouses like brianm, davidsklar or tomdz (to name a few). We have also started sharing code from the Operations side of the house, in hopes that it is useful to other Operations shops out in the ether.
Our first entry in this regard, at pierre‘s suggestion, is a Nagios plugin for Tableau servers, check_tableau_systeminfo, which is currently a little rough around the edges but quite usable. There is a new version right around the corner with some polish applied to said edges, and we are preparing a host of other tools for release that we currently use every day in our production environment.
Our production environment is currently comprised of 2000+ nodes, which makes it a relatively large environment that provides a fair amount of interesting operational problems to solve. And problems solvers is something we are actively looking for, i.e., we are hiring! Ning is the largest platform in the world for creating custom social networks, currently hosting 70,000 paid subscribers (up from 15,000 before we transitioned from the prior “freemium” model), and serving over 80 million unique visitors monthly. This makes us one of the top 100 sites in the US, and, according to CNBC.com, one cool company to work for (indeed!).
At a loss for words:
Is anyone else getting spammy invites at Ning as of late? Around mid-June, I started getting a relatively constant stream of invites from ramdon folks all over the map. There is little, if any, rhyme or reason to the invites, other than they mostly (and sometimes rather obviously) pr0n spam. The abuse folks asked me to leave the notifications intact, but after a while, the volume gets a little idiotic, so I started bulk-ignoring them.
Diego has a great (albeit somewhat brief) blog post about the social graph in the context of both the audience to which said concept is important and Ning. I can’t but agree with him. For people (not users), the key to any engagement is interest at an intrinsic level (or obligation, but that’s another matter altogether). Of course there are people intrinsically interested in social graphs: mathematicians, geeks, marketers (money!) and, of course, the press (buzzword!). They all amount to a tiny tiny percentage of the connected population (never mind the total population), and I’m willing to bet that’s still true for people using Ning or any other social network.
Unlike Diego, I was late to the virtual social network game (and I make the distinction of virtual because I was –and am– doing fine in the real world). In fact, it wasn’t until I came to Ning almost three years ago that I joined the hordes and got involved, primarily within Ning itself. Months passed, in fact, before I finally bit the bullet and opened a Facebook account, one which lied mostly dormant for a few more months before I started using it relatively often (which is still true today): I really only log into Facebook whenever I get an invite or some other viral event that drives me there (duh!). Interestingly enough, it is something I do almost daily on the handful of Ning networks I am a member of, primarily because I am personally (i.e., intrinsically) drawn to the network’s theme. There is always an exception, and that would be LinkedIn, but even there, and with a reasonable amount of connections, it’s still mostly an interrupt-based visiting process. And yet I know people who practically live in one (or both) of those networks, and if I think about what drives them there long enough, they have an intrinsic interest (which may be personal or professional) to be there as often as they do.
That’s not to say the social graph is a useless concept. Diego makes that point masterfully:
I live and die with abstractions. You will have to take my little diagrams and sourcetrees and formulas and tools from my cold, dead hands. But these are the things I build software with, not for.
I’ve seen Diego’s whiteboard and there’s plenty of all of the above in it.
The social graph will be useful to people when it’s called something else entirely and when it is given a purpose closer to their lives. I can think what seems like a good example of a successful company that has made such leap with a handful of products: Apple. They have mastered the process of taking such concepts (in their field of computer electronics) and polishing them into something usable people connect with (and crave). The iPod is one such product. iPhoto comes to mind as well. Not such much “dotMac” (but rumor has it they’re about to tackle that).
And this is likely the reason Ning is building such a strong (and diversified) community:
They don’t ask what people enjoy doing on the service. They don’t ask for stories of users, of finding long-lost friends, or of newfound friendships. They don’t ask what makes people on Ning join ten different social networks, as they often do, even if this flies in the face of conventional wisdom about how people are sick of joining social networks.
It’s not about social networking for the sake of social networking, but about what makes people tick and the interactions they bring from the real world into the networks they belong to, another channel (and a powerful one at that) to share their intrinsic interests.