A New BeginNING

8 10 2008

The very first post I made to this blog was about my old friend Tom Anderson, co-founder of MySpace. We were in a band together in college and I really admire all that he’s been able to accomplish with his social network. He’s taking it into new territory and putting music at the forefront, which is his true passion as a veritable walking encyclopedia of arcane musical trivia (Ringo – throw me a banana!). Don’t ask.


So that’s why I’m concerned about MySpace and Facebook. Are they losing their cache? In a recent PC World article on the “10 Most Overrated Products” Facebook loses to Multiply.com and reporter Darren Gladstone quips that Facebook has “free applications of dubious value, plus scores of plug-ins and games that draw you deeper into the Facebook rabbit hole until you’re spending hours a day befriending complete strangers with whom you have nothing in common beyond a shared love of Raisin Bran.”


And Mediaweek recently rated the Digital Hot List 2008, and MySpace wasn’t even listed. What’s going on? Is social media tanking? I don’t think so. What I think is happening is that more people are trying sites like Ning.com to build their own social media sites where they can grow their own communities on the Internet.


Haven’t heard of Ning? I read a brilliant article on Ning in Fast Company earlier this year and I began using the site. Basically, it enables anyone with minimal knowledge of website design to create an online social network. That network can be open to everyone or closed and open to members by invitation only. The level of customization is awesome. Post videos and still images, blog, chat in real time, or create forums – most of what you can do with Facebook or MySpace is available, but you are essentially creating your own Facebook or MySpace with Ning serving as the backbone.


Marketers who have tried and failed to leverage social networking sites should pay attention to Ning because it provides the tools (at free or very low cost) to create a community with shared interests online. And it’s very cool. If Tom can create an empire like MySpace, you can create YourSpace with Ning. Let me know if you’ve played around with Ning and how it’s working for you.