Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

I run a very small Ning network, http://michiganstorytelling.ning.com , & just learned as of July Ning networks will no longer be free.  Go to http://about.ning.com/announcement/ to see what's coming.  There will be the option for Ning sites to charge for membership.  I've no idea if this will happen here.  The least expensive option of about $20 a year offers Blogs, Photos, Forum and Video embeds.  We could still list Events, but
only via our personal blogs for that amount. The most important thing, IMO, that level would lose, if that is the level our wonderful administrator chooses, is GROUPS!  We'd also lose Chat.  UPDATE: Just realized that level's not even an option here as we're well over the 150 member limit. To get Events, Groups, Chat, Pages and Ning Apps & UNLIMITED membership, it will cost 10 times as much, $200!
We have a window of opportunity to find any alternatives.  Suggestions?!?

Tags: Apps, Chat, Events, Groups, Members, Ning, Pages, fees

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I have learned that few free things stay free all the time, and when things change we have to make a decision about the true value of whatever it is we have enjoyed at no cost. I do not like making these decisions, and I often feel I am caught between what I want and what I really need to accomplish my goals. My guess is that as our free options change to "pay for service," we will actually gain more time because most of us cannot afford to pay for all the choices available. Brace yourself, and get ready to start making some hard decisions.
Actually there are enough members here, it really need not be expensive & could even make money for Dianne if 200 or more members find it's still worth staying at even $1 each. What's worrisome is this site is currently administered by somebody in Dianne's place. We've yet to hear what plans, if any, are being made for the inevitable transition.

Several Ning alternatives exist. For my own little very specialized group http://michiganstorytelling.socialgo.com seems to offer what we need. Unfortunately our group was just starting to get established. I'm convinced that site should stay free. Economic conditions in Mich. are quite poor right now. Also only a few in our state would feel comfortable with the "Professional Storyteller" name -- even though this network is welcoming. It needs something just for our state & welcoming all levels of interest in storytelling. But migrating from 1 network to another may cause enough confusion neither site succeeds.

We'll see.

Social networks need a sufficient size & level of involvement to succeed. Whether here (where a lot of the activity seems to have dropped off) or my little state network (which has barely begun to understand what is possible), involvement must occur to keep the network alive. When I look at Group activity here, many times the date of last participation is misleading as it just means somebody joined the group, not that they participated in discussion.

Two & a 1/2 weeks elapsed before anyone even considered this worth discussing here.
I have experienced silence from some of the discussions on this Professional Storyteller as well, but there have been times when there seems to be a flurry of activity. I don't know why this is so, but the result is that I don't visit as often as I might if I felt more connected. Do you think facebook and twitter have anything to do with the drop off of activity?
Facebook and Twitter and blogs getting more of my attention, there are only som nay hours in the day, buit when a interesting note pops up I answer it. I think part is replying so it gets into peoples email box to be a nudge like it is for me.
On NIng I am discouraged it will begin charging. I recently posted a site for my A-MAZE-ING Story Slam in Sept. technically we will only need to pay for a couple months but it was just set up to promote this event. It seemd perfect - especially the FREE part! I want to look around the web for a similar site there has to be a copy cat starting up somewhere out there. I wont move my event because its short term and all set up just pay the min for a couple months
I chose SocialGo after reading these two articles suggested to me by Tim Sheppard:
http://www.scriptstar.co.uk/seven-sexiest-alternatives-to-ning/
http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/ning-alternatives/
LoiS(ure hope folks on my MI network eventually transfer over to the new site)
LoiS:

The administrator you are talking about was my assistant, Rebecca Buscemi. I still maintain total control over Professional Storyteller. I have decided to bite the bullet and keep it open for now. I am adding a donation box but I suspect that few people will actually make donations and I will have to cover most of the cost myself.

It will be interesting to see how many people actually see and believe in the value of a social network dedicated solely to the profession of storytelling.

Warmly,
Dianne de Las Casas
Founder of Professional Storyteller
I understand it will cost $500 to take over Professional Storyteller. I think the money could be better spent adding a section to www.storynet.org by NSN. I don't know what that would entail, or if that would be practical...but I'd like to see NSN become the Voice/Place for storytelling connections. Seems to me that guilds could also avail themselves of this... Just sayin'. We are discussing ning's change in the NSN Board.
Time's going fast. This free NING network will end at the end of July!

Having seen how well the international email list, STORYTELL, has been served by moving there, I'd recommend it highly. The biggest hitch I see is few people here seem to have any idea this change is coming. Even Dianne or her chosen administrator have yet to mention it.

IF NSN decides to offer this as an option, it would be worth sending an email to each group here explaining what is coming next month & what NSN is offering as an option. To do that would mean joining each group so it could be posted on each group.
Roger:

Professional Storyteller embraces storytellers from around the world. NSN's focus is primarily U.S. membership. I have decided that Professional Storyteller is worth saving and many storytellers have voiced their support as well.

While I think NSN could add a section to Storynet.org, it would cost a whole lot more than $500. Building a social network from scratch takes a lot of expertise and programming experience.

Social networking is the new "telephone." It's how people around the world connect with each in this day and age. Professional Storyteller has merit and is a valuable tool for storytellers to connect with each other.

Warmly,
Dianne de Las Casas
Founder of Professional Storyteller
GREAT NEWS! & aren't we due for it on this topic?!?

I know that there was investigation of taking over the hosting of this site, but now it won't even be needed. A "reliable source" tells me that Dianne de Las Casas has decided it's worth it to pay the $200 annually to keep this network going!!!

YAY, Dianne, on behalf of the roughly 1000 members here!

This Forum issue is probably closed unless I hear this isn't true after all.
LoiS:

I have decided to keep Professional Storyteller open for now. The cost is actually $499 because of our size and the features we have now, I know members will want to maintain. There is also the issue of tech support. I have added a donation button to the top of the front page of the site. We'll see how many people respond to help defray the cost but I suspect that I will be shouldering the bulk of the costs. Most people want everything free.

Warmly,
Dianne de Las Casas
Founder of Professional Storyteller
Hello One and All

As a European teller that uses this site a lot I would recommend that it try to stay open (I am going to donate towards costs). It's all well and good to add it to the NSN but this is working as an international page. I just connected to someone in Kenya, and it's how I keep up with a lot of people in England and Scotland and in the States.

The intermittent activity I believe comes from the fact that we have too many social networking sites, we are distracted by the different ways of communicating which leads to poor communicating in general. Professional Storyteller has become one of my most regular spots and I recommend it to every storyteller I meet as a way of connecting with people, learning new ideas and techniques and opening up to discussion which I believe the world of storytelling needs.

Dianna, thank you for your hard work on this site. It is a tribute to you. I hope you get all the money you need to cover it. Is it possible to get a grant to cover the cost (from NSN? or someone else interested in supporting the arts) if you don't get enough support?

As you say, people like free. But the merit this site has accrued since it began means that the response to this may surprise you. This is an international community centre for storytellers. Some rooms in this big centre of ours are busier than others, it's true. Sometimes we don't see someone for a while and we wonder where they've gone. Does that mean we should let the centre be demolished? I don't think so.

The bottom line is, Professional Storyteller serves an important need. It connects us. It connects artists who often work alone or in isolation. So if you allow the community centre to be knocked down, you'll see an increase in the itinerant storyteller, alone out on the road.

Long may Professional Storyteller last!

See you soon at the water cooler, or maybe around the corner at the coffee shop.

Clare

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