Remember when you were a kid and you built a clubhouse for all your little friends. You had comic books, and chips, and cream soda and a sodden copy of Playboy you found behind the Mormon church? Then you and your friends piled in and willed away long summer afternoon in a sweat and superhero daydream? Well, now you can build just that kind of clubhouse online, thanks to ning.com. Ning is really sort of an online prefab clubhouse - a social network in a box. You sign up at ning.com and have immediate access to tools for sharing photos, discussions, videos, links and all sorts of plug-in-able widgets. Of course, the look 'n' feel of the site is in your control and you can even give your friends pages of their own to decorate. I've just used it to create a insta-social community for therealnews.com, and I have to tell you, it was a pleasure to use. It was started by Marc Andreesen, the guy who started Netscape and has just gotten a big venture capital injection, so I think it's a pretty safe bet. Best of all, it's free unless you want to get rid of the ads on the right column, then it's about $20 a month. So ning.com, instant online community, just add water, or a waterlogged Playboy. Your choice.
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