I have both joined and created networks on Ning and have found it to be a very compelling platform for organizing a group of people around a common interest. As an early user, I naturally wanted to be able to bring in content from other sources that also had value to the group, such as music and video recommendations or even just a classifieds listing.
As Ning's screencast shows here, Ning is joining the OpenSocial crew and it will enable exactly those types of experiences. The big plus of OpenSocial over the FB platform is that is does not require the apps to run within a specific "wrapper" like FB does. This is another leap forward in openness and should spur the next massive wave of interesting developments.
Find more screencasts like this on Ning Network Creators