We have a discussion running on our Facebook group about Facebook versus Ning. In essence this boils down to "the use of the social networking tools for short bursts of learning, where participants are expecting [and expected] to contribute and debate" [Steve Mackenzie] This is an interesting way of getting our staff to think about synchronous and asynchronous conferencing. We would like them to think about task-driven, time-limited activities, where it is the task that shapes the use of a tool, rather than the tool becoming omnipresent.
Ning enables you to manage videos, break-out groups, photos, discussions for specific communities, as well as for oneself. Facebook has a cleaner interface and is more fun. I wonder whether we will see a growth in Ning for "task-driven, time-limited academic activities"?