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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Creating a Social Network by Angela Crocker

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I suggest you take advantage of the free trial offers available on Ning, SocialGO, and KickApps. You can also try out BuddyPress and Wall.fm for free. If you’re just test driving these services, you may want to use a temporary project name to explore the service as all of the free trial communities will be visible online at the time they are created. Once you’ve settled on a platform, invest time and energy in branding the network to meet your needs.
Most of the networks can be set up in a few minutes and you can then play with the service to see if it works for you. Experiment with all the features available in your trial offer. Invite a trusted group of those close to your business or project to join as members and experiment ...

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