POWER TO THE PEOPLE
(Update: PCWorld likes the New Ning).
"...can be used to create a fully functional and customized social network in minutes"...
...a kind of roll-your-own social networking service for the rest of us. By that I mean mainstream folks, who may not be as up on the latest programming languages as co-founder Marc Andreessen.
I've liked Ning's basic vision since it's inception, having talked about it in detail two years ago.
Although there are a variety of platforms that more mainstream folks can use to communicate with the world, be it a blog on a service like Typepad, a MySpace presence, a Facebook entry, photos on Flickr or videos on YouTube, one could argue that each of these is but one part of the elephant that is a "social network".
Ning's new service in theory offers all those components in a Lego block approach to building one's own social network.
GigaOm's Om Malik puts it aptly,
"Ning 2.0 is also a challenge to current crop of blogging tools that are still not waking to the new reality, and continue to live like content management systems.
The big challenge for Ning will be to get mass adoption, for upon that “adoption” hinges its business model."
Other services like Six Apart's Vox, offer some of this capability, but one thing that differentiates Ning is it's Creative Commons license whereby a new user can clone an existing social network and make it their own.
In the meantime, check out the Ning blog for updates on the launch.