Ning is a social networking site co-founded by Mark Andreeson (of Netscape fame) and Gina Bianchini. It looks to have enough functionality to be attractive to our students who are using MySpace extensively, and includes enough interoperability with other services (Google Video, YouTube and Flickr) to be very useful. You can also directly upload videos (up to 100Mg each), photos (up to 10Mg each), have a blog and it also generates RSS.
Ning also signed on to the OpenSocial movement, and quite a number of OpenSocial widgets are available for Ning sites. I have created a Hawaiian language network on Ning (sorry, it’s not open yet) and begun translation. It took about 4 hours to complete approximately 25% of the translation, and the web-based localization tool is very slick. Unicode appears to work fine in both content and in the localized resources. The only place that I could not add the ‘okina and kahak? (diacritics used in the Hawaiian language) were in the site name.
One advantage to using a site like Ning as opposed to establishing a stand-alone Hawaiian language social network is that users of Ning can join our Hawaiian language network, and also interact with other networks on the system. As OpenSocial (hopefully) expands, there will be even more interoperability between Ning, MySpace and other social networks which will make it even more appealing for our students to use our Hawaiian language network.