My thanks to eagle-eyed Peter Kirwan at the FullRun who noted our old blogging chum TWL has returned from a brief self-imposed exile. However, in keeping with the spirit of the times, the acerbic one has come back as a social network (courtesy of Ning). After only a few days, membership is up to 41.
TWL himself remains sceptical as to whether this format has legs: “The blog worked because most of the audience could be passive. Just sit back and read, be entertained, be appalled, be bored. It took no effort. It did for me though, which is largely why it came to an end. This’ll need a great deal more involvement from the members if it’s going to come to life.”
Whether user generated content can rival TWL’s fine wordsmithing remains to be seen. But worth keeping an eye on. Chris “Long Tail” Anderson seems to be a fan of Ning. In a recent interview, he said: “Ning has about 40,000 very niche, narrowly focused social networks. I think that is the right model going forward, with social networks being extremely granular, laser-focused on small, intensely narrow communities. They can perfectly serve those communities rather than forcing them to try and conform to a one-size-fits-all model.”
Speaking of narrow communities, I’ve just joined another new niche social network site – MarCom Professional. It appears to have been going since last October and has some nice features – not least being able to import and synchronise your own blog postings there. Again, early days, but worth a look.