The Forum tool allows all users to create and reply to asynchronous discussion and upload files. You can choose to follow individual forums, and receive email notifications when any one posts a comment or reply. Network members can also choose to follow the entire Forum tool, and receive email notification any time a new forum is created.
Ning Messages is an internal email system. The Messages tool protects your email account from other members of the network. When you receive a message through Ning, it automatically sends a notification to the email account associated with your Ning account. Through the Ning applications available on your My Page area, you can integrate your Yahoo Mail and Gmail accounts.
Ning contains a basic chat tool, using plain text plus a few emoticons. The tool is accessed through the status bar of your Web browser. The chat tool can “pop out” and become a separate browser window, or it can remained anchored at the bottom of the page. Though chat is often used for administrative functions and information sharing, Reynard (2008) promotes using chat for moving critical thinking processes forward. Through the Ning Applications features, users can also integrate the more powerful Yahoo! Chat, as well as Gmail chat.
Reynard, R. (2008, December). Using chat to move the thinking process forward. Technological Horizons In Education Journal, 35(12), 4.
Comments can be enabled on nearly every feature within Ning. Enabling comments allows any user to post text-based replies to other users comments. The Comments tool can effectively transform Pages and Notes tools from technologies for creating content to technologies for communication and dialogue.