The neverending stream of silly names for excellent online tools peaks, for many of us, with the word ‘ning’. However, do not be fooled, a ning is an excellent tool for collaboration, especially for a conference delegate.

At this particular style of social networking site delegates are able to interact before, during and after the conference. Each delegate has their own page at the ning but the key features are the ‘forums’ for discussion and the ‘events’, which are, in our case, the keynotes, workshops and sessions. Presenters are able to upload their presentation materials, which is particularly useful for when you have multiple workshops you wish to attend at the same time. Photos and video can also be uploaded by delegates.

Discussions at the ning tend to help delegates interact with colleagues after the event and lead to great sharing and collaboration. For me personally, the conferences with a ning and many delegates using twitter to network, have been particularly stimulating in recent years. It has led to enhanced professional networking and friendships.

If you are attending the conference, sign-up for the ning here. There is also the link from our website. It is good to upload a picture and post a message after you do this but don’t worry too much about spending any time until closer to the conference. It is important that you recognise this is a experiment for 2010, lets see how it goes and we’ll evaluate formally.

In an attempt to ensure that we use all the functionality of a ‘ning’, I have purchased a new book for my Kindle to learn more about administering this tool. Tips, hints and any action at the ning will be drawn to your attention via newsletters, email or the blog. Other posts to support our use of the Conference Ning will follow.

Has anyone had experience with using a ning? Please help out and tell us about the challenges and advantages.