Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ready, set ... LAUNCH!

Wow, things are really moving fast. I have had a terrific response to my suggestion about a social networking site for elderwomen. Some of you have responded here in the comments - thank you very much for that. And some have emailed, either directly or via the Discussion Group.

Almost everyone seems enthusiastic and there is a high level of consensus about what form the site should take. It should be private, by invitation only. And for women only. Those were my preferences too, but I wanted to see what others thought, first. So I am glad we agree.

Encouraged by your response, I have spent most of this weekend setting up the site. I am calling it 'elderwomanspace'. This is what it looks like (at the moment, anyway, though we can always change the design if someone else comes up with a better one):

And some time in the next twenty-four hours I am going to send out invitations to the first twenty potential members. These are the 'first responders', the people who answered my questions so promptly and expressed their enthusiasm for the project.

You twenty are the foundation members of elderwomanspace. Together, we will set the tone for the site and make it something that elderwomen everywhere will want to be part of.

I have never set up a site like this before, so it is a big learning curve for me. What I am hoping is that as you sign up, explore the site and start adding content of your own, you will give me feedback about what is missing, what needs changing, what works and what doesn't. This way, we will shape the thing together. I see this as very much a co-operative venture.

Over the coming days and weeks, I will send out several hundred more invitations. And I hope that you, too, will invite everyone else you know who may be interested.

To set the site up, I am using what is known as a 'white label' company. In other words, I am building the site on a platform developed by somebody else - a company called Ning - and offered to us free, on their servers. ('Ning' by the way, means 'peace' in Chinese. I like that.)

Like Yahoo and Google and Facebook and all those other companies who offer free services, Ning makes its money by allowing advertising on members' pages. I'm pleased to say, though, that the ads on our site take up just one small section on the right hand side and are fairly unobtrusive.

I anticipate that once we get going, we'll probably find ourselves attracting ads for some of the age-denying things we all dislike so much. But once we have a few hundred members we can ask everyone to chip in a dollar (or 50p), and that way we'll have enough to buy the ad-free, premium service for at least a year.

If anyone else who is reading this would like an invitation to sign up for elderwomanspace, please go to this page on my website for details of how to get one.

I am feeling very excited about this new venture.

(PS: Jill and Mary - please see note on previous post)

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