Ragan launches social network for communicators

MyraganA phoned-in comment to yesterday’s FIR podcast from PR podcaster Bryan Person brought news of a new social network for communicators launched by Chicago-based Lawrence Ragan Communications.

MyRagan.com quietly opened for business a few days ago. So quiet, in fact, that there’s not yet any reference to it on Ragan’s website.

Launched in beta (what isn’t these days?), MyRagan.com offers a raft of services including discussion forums, messaging, chat, groups, your own blog, uploading photos and video, RSS links, and easy ways to search for other members and make connections.

The free service seems to have got off to a racing start – when I signed up last night and glanced around, I reckon more than 250 communicators have signed up so far including many I know or whose names I recognize.

From my quick tour of the service, it’s clear this is an offering that’s been planned for some time, judging by the quality of what’s on offer right now. And this is no dry or stuffy place – plenty of informal if not irreverent content abounds. Take a glance at the FAQ to see what I mean.

One intriguing aspect is the use of the domain name ‘me.com‘ which underpins the personalization behind MyRagan.com. The underlying technology is SNAPP which describes itself as “Everything you need to rapidly build your own branded online web community that is completely customized to the interests and affinities of your target audience.”

On first looks, this is a service that I think has real potential to be a valuable focal point for communicators – that means people in PR, advertising, corporate communication, marketing, employee communication, etc – who want an easy way to build a personal presence online and be part of a relevant and global community.

There are other offerings out there aimed at communicators – IABC’s and the CIPR’s discussion forums spring to mind – but nothing I’ve yet seen that offers this breadth and depth of community presented in a very simple-to-use way. And did I mention it’s free?

Once you sign up, you have your own memorable web address that you can publicize. For instance, mine is http://me.com/neville, although trying that URL brings up someone else at times (must be one of the reasons why the service is labelled ‘beta’).

My only real criticism right now is that the website is painfully slow. Whether that’s something on the net between my PC and the servers hosting the site, or just those servers, I don’t know. Either way, it’s an experience hurdle.

Still, a great professional and social offering for communicators everywhere.

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