Ning is a great platform for creating individual social networks or communities of practice. It allows you to have your own site to which people can sign up and leave blog posts, have forum discussions, upload photos and videos and publish RSS feeds. I had a play here.
It’s another example of being able to get a social site up and running quickly and freely. The only ads are Google text ones, so they aren’t really intrusive.
Another reason to pay attention to Ning is that it is backed by Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame – a man who knows his stuff.