My boss recently asked us to evaluate the social networking site Ning. (That’s deliberately not a link. I don’t want anyone accidentally visiting it.) The idea is sound: build a small, private social network — for example, to help people in the office communicate more easily about project statuses and professional development.
The execution is just terrible. Ordinary users have access to administrative features (the software just pretends to save their changes while really doing nothing), people invited to join a social network can’t just login using their existing Ning account (they have to follow a special link in the invitation e-mail), and buttons peppered throughout the application take no apparent effect of any kind. Plus, I was able to put the word “Hello!” in blinking, marqueeing, fuchsia text on my profile, and that’s just a crime against good hypertext markup.
But my favorite aspect of the site is not a quirky bug but a deliberate feature — this simple option that appears when creating a new blog post:
The first two I understand. Anyone want to go over that third option with me?