Ning Things

20th February 2006 @ 12:41 pm
Ning and Ideas
I keep glancing over at Ning, and I like the look of its small groups focus and emphasis on cloning and customisation. Though I'm not totally sold on it yet, I imagine the most successful Ning apps will be things that people stumble upon and immediately think "I must have this for me and my friends", rather than than the Big Web App model of "I must join this".

Herewith some notes on a few things that I might build with Ning if you don't do it first.

  1. Some kind of generic pool ladder app (I actually started this and called it Thing Ladder, but I didn't get very far). Challenge people up to n places in front, swap if you win. That kind of thing. I want to extend it to games for more than two players (Scrabble, actually) but I haven’t thought it through yet about how the scoring should affect the position shifts.
  2. A bit like the Thing Ladder, some kind of app for managing a Whatever Tournament or a Whatever League. With photos and comments from each game of Whatever. If Ning apps can receive email then email/SMS entry of results becomes possible (maybe).
  3. Flickr For Maps (a Google GPX hangover). Lots of people are trying to do it, but basically I imagine a Ning app where you upload a GPX file and it creates a page with a Google/Yahoo Map of that file (see our crufty but functional pure javascript implementation of this here). Describe and tag your journey, add photos (like one of the example apps) optionally share the metadata (CC license or whatever) with OpenStreetMap and others (e.g. OpenStreetMap could poll the GPX Ning App once in a while for public tracks). "Blog this" should be super easy too, either embedding a google map in your blog post (if you supply an api key) or just uploading a static image and linking back to Ning. It would swap out the static image in javascript so as not to break people’s aggregators with 101 Google Maps failing because of no API keys.
  4. Some kind of Gig Listings Web App for bands/fans (all the cool kids use myspace to do this, and it’ll be hard to wean them off, but myspace doesn’t integrate very well with people's own sites so I think there’s an opening there). It should probably focus on a local music scene (city/genre/label?) and be easily cloneable to new niches. With photos and ratings and "my gigs" and stuff, of course. Like evnt/evdb/upcoming in a sense in that it's a point to organise around afterwards and 'map' the scene… Everything2 used to have articles for meetups where people would propose a party, and then afterwards there would be this flurry of 'aftermath' nodes, it was really great. You see it on music forums now, with "first home" threads about a club night or gig, with drunken discussion way past bedtime. Would be nice to formally support this, but the local forum/band forum/myspace stanglehold might be too tight. Something like DrownedInSound's gig pages (who's going, etc.) but again with a small groups/scene focus.
  5. Some kind of Amazon Film Night/Swap Shop/Peer Rentals app… Steve wanted to build-a-better-wishlist for Amazon and have Amazon recommendations become properly aware of stuff you already own and stuff you’ve already said you want to own, that kind of thing. I figure that sharing those wishlists among small groups means that people can say "don’t buy that, I’ll lend you it" or, for associates fee mojo, "if you buy that, I’ll watch it with you at the weekend". Some kind of thing to get people to share lists of media and organise around them. With cover art and ratings and stuff, of course.
  6. Some kind of Playlist Sharing App, but aimed at small groups where it’s practical to also burn the playlist to CD and share it with everyone, or for copyright free music. You might do a playlist and offer 5 copies, and other people might ask to be notified of your new playlists and claim a copy of the ones they like the sound of. Artwork and comments and stuff, of course. A bit like art of the mix but with the balls to actually trade the music. May only work in Canada and Norway, and probably done better by Art of the Mix and groups already.