eLW Mag
eLearning Weekly Magazine


September 2, 2009

Elgg, Ning, and SocialText

Several social media platforms have emerged over the past few years which allow you to create your own social network. Organizations are using these platforms to aggregate some or all of their social learning tools so employees don’t have to keep jumping from application to application. These platforms generally have user profiles, status updates (pseudo micro-blogging), collaboration tools (ex. wikis, blogs), and more. I personally haven’t had a ton of experience with these platforms, but I’m anxious to dig in and learn more. Please chime in and comment on your experiences if you’ve used Elgg, Ning, and/or SocialText.


    "Elgg empowers individuals, groups and institutions to create their own fully-featured social environment."

    Elgg software is licensed under the GPL version 2 from the Free Software Foundation. The full license is here.

    You can download and run Elgg on your own servers or you can pay to have somebody host it for you (see hosting information).



    "Ning lets you create and join new social networks for your interests and passions."

    Ning hosts your social network(s) for you.

    Ning has both free and paid options. The free version has ads. For some reason I was unable to find the exact pricing details on the Ning site.



Again, please chime in if you have experience with any of these platforms. I’m curious to hear feedback!

Author: B.J. Schone

B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.

About the Author

B.J. Schone
B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.


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  1. BJ, you might be interested in the following:

    My comparison of Elgg, Ning and Facebook at http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/handbook/comparison.html

    My Elgg community site at http://www.c4lpt.net/

    My All things Elgg blog with some featured elgg sites at http://janeknight.typepad.com/elgg

  2. BJ,

    I have a Ning site that I am using as a tool for social learning about teen dating violence, http://www.teendatingviolence.ning.com.

  3. BJ,

    We have integrated Elgg for social functionality on our trivia and puzzle games site http://www.braindash.com and also do Elgg work for third parties http://www.brain-media.co.uk. Having used both Ning and Kickapps (another white label social network platform) previously our experience is that Elgg provides more flexibility and, being open source, is more cost effective when you are looking at medium scale implementations. As with most decisions the right choice of platform does of course depend on precisely what you want to use it for.

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