Aloha fellow geeks -
I'm looking for information about and experiences with hosted "social media platforms" (for lack of a better phrase). My daughter's school is looking for something in this regard, and while I think the requirements are fairly flexible, the essential thing is the ability to define groups and to distribute messages to group members. Some sort of calendaring (at the group level, and globally) would probably be useful. I'm not sure at this point whether member blogs are essential, or even desired. It is also critical that the tool be manageable by your average moderately tech-aware parent.
Being a loyal TechHuiian, I naturally thought of ning. This is a possibility, of course. Ning no longer has a "free" option, but I expect that even Ning's "mid-level" pricing option would be within budget. Perhaps our fearless leader Dan can comment on his satisfaction with the platform. Hosted Drupal also came to mind, but with that I worry about management overhead. Then again, I know nothing of Drupal.