I had not heard of ning before...it has the features I was hoping for with the facebook groups page. A place limited to just a group and not the whole world. If there is that feature on facebook I haven't figured it out yet. I posted some of my music (bought on iTunes, probably still in the protected format, so I'll test to see if it will play). I responded to a post. another Thinger on a deadline! and created a ning badge.
I've been part of online communities...way back to the days of listservs and bulletin boards. One community collapsed under all the infighting over moderation vs. censorship. I like the nings & facebook because of the different widgets, apps & gadgets that you can build, as well as posting pictures, music and badges. 10 years ago it was quite a production to post a picture to a bulletin board. No digital camera, take the photo print....scan it on the scanner, tweak it in photoshop, ftp it to the server, a few hours later...there was your picture. Yes I did walk uphill both ways to school, why do you ask? :--)