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Ning Me: Great Social Networking Website Building Platform

Yesterday, I started experimenting with Ning, and I was impressed. It’s amazingly powerful for such an truly easy-to-use system. Now, (no kidding) virtually anyone with an ounce of web-savvy can create their own social networking website. This is Web 2.0 at it’s best. (Oh, and I should mention this company is backed in large part by Marc Andreesen.)

But why take my word for it, when Ning’s attractive and articulate CEO, Gina Bianchini is virtually right here to demo it for you:

Thanks to TechCrunch for their review and you may also gain further illumination from GigaOM’s post.

Web 2.0 Illuminated by Neat Video

Great video illuminating Web 2.0. Thanks, Kanas State U. 😉

OR a higher-quality WMV version of this video is available here.

Enjoy.

Online TV & Video: “social revolution” No Longer an Exaggeration

Sighting a pressing TV industry need to monetize the “massive interest in online (video) content,” eMarketer.com summarized an Informa Telecoms & Media research report (which I could not find on their site) including numbers that would make almost any venture investor salivate. For example, “In the US alone, revenues are forecast to rise from $538 million in 2006 to nearly $4 billion in 2012.”

“These trends are now so pronounced, that the term ‘social revolution’ no longer seems too much of an exaggeration,” said Adam Thomas of Informa.

Personally, today, I was checking out VideoEgg.com which boasts an easy to use video upload, Flash compress, and, yes, video editing platform as well as a pretty impressive online video ad network that’s focused on social networking sites.

Does anyone have a good comparison of all these new Web 2.0 video platforms?

TechCruch seems to think that SplashCast may have the ultimate player platform.

I wish it was like the Videography days when I could get paid to research and write about this stuff. Who knows, if I can find a way to monetize it, maybe I’ll be doing some video clips soon. Potential channels would include internet marketing, online video, and the joy of golf. But should I do SplashCast channels, distribute via the VideoEggNetwork, BrightCove, all of the above, or what?!?

MerchantCircle Aggregates Local Search Listings for Small Businesses

Over 14 million Business ListingsI’ve commented before about the expansion of local search, other convergent tools for local search, and even a directory of local search directories. All in support of small businesses who are recognizing that being found on the web is now far more important than being found in the paper yellow pages.

Now, thanks to the AlwaysOn.com Media 100 “special awards for market disruption,” I’ve discovered a wonderful service, MerchantCircle.com that gives small business owners a convenient way to access (or add) local search listings on most of the important local search directories (only Google seems to be missing) including Yahoo Local, City Search, YellowPages.com, Verizon Superpages, Yelp.com, Insiderpages.com and more.

The result is the ability to manage your business’ “web identity” and online “reputation.” So, if you have a business that has local, face-to-face community contact (in other words if your business does not exist entirely on the web), then MerchantCircle is definitely worth checking out. You can monitor and update most of your localized listings and also network with other local businesses in a very state-of-the-Web 2.0-art environment.

Easy, Low Cost Solutions for Creating Websites & Podcasts

Here are a couple of interesting Web 2.0 style online user-generated content creation services I’ve come across lately:

> Weebly.com has an impressive video demo that makes it look (to me, at least) like Weebly may well be about the easiest way available for almost anyone to create a website. The video demo shows a drag and drop, practically brain-dead simple interface… and that’s a good thing!

> Likewise, BlogTalkRadio.com has it’s own push-button interface that takes the audio studio work, or even the GarageBand software production out of producing a podcast talkshow via the phone, complete with RSS feed. And some people say Web 2.0 is just a concept…

In both cases, no fuss, no muss, no independent hosting account is required.

FYI, I’ve also posted my first WordPress website, which was also a reasonably straight forward process. It’s a bit more feature-rich and blog-oriented as compared to Weebly, but I’m pleased with the results (which are viewable at: TheJoyofGolfing.com). Not bad for a rare solo effort (professionally, I’m more of a team player).

Any comments or anyone want to share their experience with any of the above services?

Browser-based Chat App Breaks Through Compatibility Blocks

Web content is becoming more and more modularized, and Web 2.0 is increasing efficiencies with windows within the browser window… One of the most useful applications I’ve seen that solves a real problem for me is Meebo.com. First of all, I’m using two IM (instant messenger) applications these days, having collegues using both AIM (via Mac’s iChat) and Yahoo Messenger. This meant I needed to run two different readers. Meebo handles both IM chats within one web window/application.

And, to make things better, they also offer a widget that I can put inside a web page. I’ve done that now at ComBridges.com (at the bottom of the page) so that visitors can chat with me directly from my web page. This is an experiment to see if I can get prospective customers to start a conversation that may lead to them becoming a client. This sure beats $99/month for LivePerson and also offers distinct advantages over the complexity (albeit free and open source) of a application like ZaZaChat.

I’m impressed with Meebo. It works and has made my life simpler while opening up new possibilities. What more can I ask?