The blogosphere is buzzing today with the relaunch of Ning. It is a platform for creating social networks. Anyone (and I mean ANYONE) can within minutes have their own social network, just like Facebook, up on the Web.
I created a social network about Fun Things in Washington DC (still need to add more content.) I had it up in minutes. This is way too easy.
I think that Ning will end up being bigger than Facebook. With Facebook recently announcing that it has 18 million accounts, this may be hard to believe. Mark my words, if Ning plays their cards right, it will happen.
If you look at what has been successful in Web 2.0, it has been the services which act as platforms for customization, user self-expression, and user-generated content. Sites like YouTube and MySpace have allowed users to express themselves in new and interesting ways that were never before possible. Ning brings this power of customization and self-expression to your social networks.
MySpace is a mass chaos of users and with Facebook you are tied down to a finite group of larger networks with the ability to create groups which you can’t do as much with. The thing is my social network isn’t the entire world like in MySpace or an entire corporation or university like in Facebook. It is a series of smaller networks that look like a bunch of overlapping circles in a HUGE venn diagram.
With Ning, my real life with many networks of friends and associates can be mirrored in my online life. That is the power of Ning. It is an open platform and can take any shape that you desire.
I could see churches using Ning. How about political campaigns? How about schools? How about small organizations? This would be great for small community groups. The limits are endless.
I need to read more of the documentation. I’d love to map a Ning social network to a domain and use it as the CMS for a Web site. What would be even cooler is if they released it as open-source software like WordPress. *wishfully thinks*