I know, I know, that title is a horrible pun. Still, it does do a good job of summarizing this posting.
It should be no surprise to those of you who've been following this blog that I've been dabbling in ed-tech groups. I still attend the occasional DEN event,and I'm an off and on contributer to the NextGenTeachers blog. Of course there's also Teachers 2.0, but I talk about that so much that I'll limit my plugging of that group to things that directly relate to the subject of this rant.
Steve Dembo recently raved about ning.com, which lets you create your own social networks. In a nutshell, it's like installing Elgg without the pain and suffering. Sounds great, right?
It would be, if it worked right.
I had been expirimenting with Elgg to see if it might be nicer than Drupal for Teachers 2.0, so almost immediately I created a test group on ning - not to replace the main site, mind you, but just to try it out to see if it was worth it.
My first impression was that it was really slick. The interface was intuitive and I had a lot of options to help me customize my group. Ok, so it wouldn't show a preview image when I posted a video, but that was a minor detail, right?
Oh, I also can't answer any of the profile questions I created for my group. No matter what I type, when I submit them I go to an error page. That's not so much a problem, but what about groups where you have to fill out the questions to join?
Nope, those don't work either. I'd love to join Steve's EduGamerz group. Love to, but Ning won't let me, since I can't submit answers to the questions.
I couldn't even post to my blog on Ning, since the only thing it loaded in the text box (when it loaded anything at all) was the front page for my Teachers 2.0 Ning group. Yeah, that was odd.
The final straw was this morning. It turns out that a member of the DEN group on Ning sent me a friend request and a message. Not only can I not view either (so I can't approve the request and I can't reply to the message) , trying to do so will force my browser into a downward spiral that forces me to force-quit it and restart. Switching browsers gets me a little further along, but not far enough to actually do anything useful before I once again have to force-quit.
So I wouldn't say Ning is ready for prime-time. Not when it gives me this many glitches regardless of the browser I use.
I think I'll stick with Drupal.
[UPDATE] - Many of the bugs have been fixed. There go all my complaints!