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If you have ever been invited to a Ning.com community , or been part of an e-group ,or been member of a LinkedIn Group of Facebook Group – you would know what online communities are all about. Here is a relatively new entrant than Ning.com (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ning) and it is called Wordframe
The plus points of Wordframe –
It has much better ,updated skins than Ning http://wordframe.com/product/community/skins/
It is much better ,well suited for creating content
It can use existing RSS feeds , and almost create a seamless focused community out in 5 minutes flat.
It can potentially be used within organizations in intranet installations as well for in house content management and corporate blogging.
It is soon going to be open source and give APIs away for third party development as well.
Ning.com is having many more users, and is quite good in flexibility in terms of Questions and Answers, Forums, Groups, Friend Creation . It’s design is okay- some of the skins could do with a Web 2.0 makeover. Above all it is free.
They are actually aimed at different segments ( I hope !!) so while Ning encourages focused social networking , Wordframe is more on focused blog /content heavy networking. One of the best Ning sites I have seen is www.analyticbrdige.com and one of the best Wordframe sites I have seen is www.smartdatacollective.com ( for Data related people ) and www.socialmediatoday.com ( for Online Media related people).
So do you have a blog – join one or both these communities , share your RSS feed and watch you visibility and viewership go up.
You are an occasional blogger and would rather read instead- join one or both these communities (that gives you commenting freedom), read other feeds and watch you understanding and knowledge go up.
Disclaimer- I have been Blogger of the Week on Social Media Today, and Member of the Month on Analytic Bridge (see the right sidebar on www.decisionstats.com ). In addition I have acted as a consultant and vendor for both of them in various parts of time and am acquainted to both the founders.
Ajay -Do I think there is value in joining them – Yes ! It has given me more knowledge and perspective than I could ever hope to get working on my own sitting in suburban Delhi, India.
As a Hindi saying ( apt on online networking would go)- 1 and 1 make 11. That in summary is the power of offline and online networking and Ning and Wordframe help you do that.
My last post on why expensive oil may just provide liquidity to the global financial system produced some acute reactions on Facebook when someone read it using a Facebook app I use for sharing.
As for using Web 2.0 tools for blogs,
I use Facebook apps called Blog friends and Notes , they give me a continuous feed of friends blogs and similarly promote my blog. I also use the Stumble Upon tool bar in Mozilla Firefox browser , which enables me to submit my post to Stumble upon in less than 10 seconds. The free traffic works.And we have a Decision Stats group on http://www.linkedin.com , which of course provides much better networking than Facebook.
I recently started experimenting with blog tool called www.tumblr.com , which seems a cousin of www.wordpress.com , the software which currently runs this site. If you don’t have the bandwidth (or the money ) but need to put up a site , use WordPress.
And if you want to subscribe to the newsletter , please see the right bar. That is enabled thanks to www.feedburner.com , another company taken over by Google.