I’ve been a member of Ning since the beta some time ago. However, after a few months I sort of dropped out of activity on their site. There weren’t many users at the time and getting a Ning application running was a bit of a hassle — if I was willing to invest the time, it was a great way to develop or prototype little social applications; but there wasn’t a compelling reason for me to go through the trouble. All in all, I felt that it was certainly an interesting concept, but I had resigned it to the bottom of the pile.
However, Ning relaunched and the service looks great. There are a wealth of users now and getting an application running is simple and hassle-free. What’s more is that Ning has sort of changed its angle; and I think it’s for the better.
Development of social applications has just been handed to the commons, thanks to Ning. Now users can create their own niche social networking sites. All without knowing a thing about programming or web development. Now it’s cheap and easy for anyone to create their own social networks. It’s literally a sign-up, drag-and-drop ordeal. Web 2.0: look out!
Will this humble the bubble? I hope so — it seems like every week that there’s a company determined to revolutionize the social web with yet another MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc clone. I think Ning has beat everyone to the punch and as it gains traction, it could steal away the thunder of Web 2.0 hype.
For me, it would be a welcome change.