OpenACircle: Social Networking for Business Groups
There are a ton of social networking sites. In order for a social site to make it, they need a niche that is different from the others out there, or they need to be a lot better. YouTube has the video social networking tied up, Flickr has pictures, FaceBook and MySpace have the "lets be friends" category tied down. We also have LinkedIn for those looking for work, or people, or wanting to network for business reasons. There are so many other that I'd be here all day just naming them all.
A new player on the market seems to have brought things to a new level. OpenACircle is social networking for groups. You create a circle in which you can share a wall that reminds one of a white board, a meeting calendar, documents and more. This is a great site that allows for great sharing that is private to the group, but allows you to meet others as well.
Is this a new idea though? Not really. Yahoo Groups allows for a lot of this kind of sharing and other sites have attempted it. IBM and Microsoft have products that allow for sharing with businesses. But many of these products are expensive or cumbersome to use. OpenACircle is easier to use and free. This makes it a great competitor.
A couple of problems with the site exist though. For one, they use Java. This limits who can use it. Java is not supported on some older browser and many people turn off Java support. Java also takes a while to load, so is a little slower than some other languages. The second major problem is that they have written the site in a way that does not allow for support of some browsers and operating systems. Currently they support IE and Firefox in Windows only. They are working on support for Mac. They do not support Chrome or Linux and do not seem to have plans to support them. This is too bad as my main browser is Chrome and I like to use Linux.
Like any good site, OpenACircle has some great benefits, and some major drawbacks. I recommend checking it out and seeing if it is something that you can find useful, but keep in mind that it may not be supported on your platform.