I was playing around with Ning today. Ning is yet another social network system but with a twist. Ning lets anyone create and run their own social network, using Ning as the platform. It supports all the usual features and has a very nice user interface. Facebook, with its new platform, apps and groups is coming closer, but Ning was designed to be a social network creation platform from the start and has some advantages in that.
The point isn’t any of that, however. I found a Ning group devoted to diabetes. I am a type 2 diabetic and it was a welcome pleasure to find a whole group of people exchanging and sharing information and sympathy. Most of my “friends” on all the social apps and networks I am involved with are tech people or podcasters/bloggers. This is sometimes referred to as the echo chamber. Podcasters and bloggers talking to each other about podcasting and blogging. But now I am getting friend requests from people who are not connected to the tech word in any way. My relationship with them is based on a shared burden we carry for the rest of our lives. It’s refreshing to get out of the echo chamber and talk about something other than new media, web 2.0 and podcasting. I’m also learning a ton from these people. For the first time, I am seeing the benefits of social media for most of the people in the world who live outside the echo chamber. Its exciting and I think I’m going to seek out other groups outside the chamber as well.