I have always been a little curious about the rise of Ning. For me I guess I just don’t see the utility in a way that is fruitful beyond just having yet another tool. I know that there are social benefits to interaction in Ning that go beyond just normal wiki collaboration and that that is something can could be desirable in some instances. However, Ning for me walks the thin line between useful innovation and a mashup of content already in use in other ways by its potential users.
In a work environment, I think it could be handled in a way that could be most fruitful. I see work users as more willing to take on another service because it is “for work.” It also could be more useful to encourage a work atmosphere “away from the desk,” so to speak. A place to contribute to work online, or share ideas in a way that has a little more utility than, as I mentioned above, a wiki or collaborative document.
Casual potential users like myself may have a harder time adopting because they are already using facebook, delicious, instant messaging and Twitter (or whatever else suits your fancy). I suppose my parenthetical shouldn’t be. The point is that users will decide for themselves what services they find useful and fulfilling. If a Ning network is exactly what you are looking for because a facebook group just isn’t enough, then by all means, don’t let my grump get in the way of that experience.