PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 20, 2011) - New data from Ning, a leader in custom social sites, reveals patterns from the emerging social ecosystem that all communities can apply to spark change with as few as 20 people. Because Ning communities incorporate all the tools from other social sites into visually stunning and unique online communities, Ning has a singular insight into the particular power of custom social sites to change the world. The Ning Point of View (POV) shines a light on the purposeful actions of Ning community creators and participants and also ranks the most social categories and regions online: Education outranks Music and Politics to secure the number one spot, while California, New York and Texas rank as the top social states on the web.

A new Ning online community is born every ten minutes. Ning observed patterns gleaned from data from over 90,000 communities and 65 million unique monthly visitors across the globe. Regardless of what the community is doing, these patterns bring social to life in a new way that inspires movements that change the world. The Ning POV charts growth and trends in community engagement across the social media ecosystem.

The Unique Combination of Social Media Tools Drives Dialog and Builds Engaged Communities
The Ning POV demonstrates the interconnected, yet individual nature of social channels across the web. Nearly 50 percent of Ning sites integrate with external social applications. Facebook and Twitter tie for the most popular external social media platform integration and nearly one in five Ning sites integrate with Facebook Like.

Ning has fundamentally changed community engagement and activation. By shifting the balance from broadcasting status updates to developing dialog, Ning communities engage in meaningful social conversations that inspire action. In fact, the Ning POV reveals that the most active sections of Ning community site are those that foster a two-way conversation. The inbox and forum tools are catalysts of high engaged communities and visual and rich media components draw significant attention as well.

Patterns and Observations from the Custom Social Revolution
Based on data from nearly 100,000 communities and 65 million unique monthly visitors across the globe, the Ning POV charts growth and trends in community engagement across the social media ecosystem. Key findings include:

  • The Magic Number: You may have 1000 "friends" who never visit but it only takes 20 people to evolve from one-way broadcasting from the community leader to meaningful many-to-many interactions and bring an online community to a significant level of activity -- when members spend an increasing amount of time on the site, and visit more regularly.
  • Social Status: The Ning POV ranks the top 20 social categories online with Education making the highest grade. The ranking also shows that businesses and brands (#2) are seeing the power of communities with customers.
  • Rising Stars: Some of the fastest growing categories include: Lifestyle, Dating, Technology, Entertainment and Business / Brand.
  • Ning Nation: There is a distinct demographic that powers Ning communities. Members of the Ning nation are generally affluent and are between 30 - 45 years of age. In comparison with the national average, Ning community members are more likely to be educators, executive managers, professionals and business owners and are likely to be tech-savvy, pay attention to world issues and active supporters for arts and politics.

Creating Communities That Change the World
Social communities within Ning span a diverse interest set -- from education, entertainment, business, cause, religion, to health and politics. The common thread running through all of the sites is a goal of community creation that sparks meaningful action and activity. The Ning POV reveals the top 20 social categories online and identifies rising stars.

  • Top of the Class: Education takes the top spot on the list. As natural community builders, teachers are taking the lead on the social web, connecting with students in new ways and amplifying the power of their message.
  • Ning Means Business: The Business and Brands category captures the second spot on the list, demonstrating the power and profitability for businesses that build strong communities with their customers. Businesses on Ning can mobilize fans to be their ambassadors, create private customer communities and collect product feedback.
  • Passion Projects: Ning communities are driven by people dedicated to changing the world. The POV list reflects this commitment to community empowerment and social change with high rankings for the Non-Profit (#5), Politics (#10) and Activism (#11) categories.

A Small World, Global Trends
Nearly six in 10 Ning communities are hosted in the U.S., with a quarter based all over the world. Ning community members and organizers are change makers in their fields -- more likely to be educators, business owners and activists than the national average. These leaders are building communities in the same regions that are Meccas for business, entertainment, media and politics. Within the U.S., nearly three in 10 Ning communities are hosted from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. Around the world, top countries include the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy and Mexico.

For more information, visit Ning.

About Ning
Ning is the leading online platform for the world's organizers, activists and influencers to create social experiences that inspire action. For brands of all shapes and sizes, Ning makes it easy to build custom and powerful social websites. Ning Networks span categories like politics, entertainment, small business, non-profits, education and more, connecting millions of people every day around the topics they are passionate about. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ning was co-founded in October 2004 by Chairman Marc Andreessen and is privately held. For more information, visit

Contact Information:

Christina Lee
Clee (at) ning (dot) com