Cutting Edge: Free Resources for Navigating Web 2.0

No-cost classes and Website building services to get you up and running

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I champion all things Web 2.0 just as much as the next person, but with innovations and new tools springing up seemingly by the hour, keeping up with new media can be as daunting a task as keeping up with the latest teen pop sensation. (I’m still not sure who this Justin Bieber kid is.) But here are a few Websites and free resources I’ve come across that may be helpful in brushing up, getting acclimated, or getting started.

Easy updates — One of the biggest complaints I hear from professionals with regard to social networking is “I just don’t have the time.” But it’s clear that social networking is not going anywhere, so if we want to push ourselves, careers, or businesses to the next level, we’re going to have to make the time. To facilitate this process, Friendfeed and allow you to update all your social networks from a single account. If you’re looking to do more robust updating (e.g., audio updates), you may want to check out Utterli. Instead of logging on to each Website individually, just log on to one of the aforementioned sites, update your status, and get on with your day.

Build me a Website — If you’ve been looking for a cost-effective/easy way to build a Website, WIX may be just for you. WIX takes template Website building to another level, allowing users to build their Websites on a flash platform, which tends to be more dynamic than, say, an HTML Website. Best of all, WIX developers based its business model on “freemium,” which means you get the basics for free: account setup, access to its flash platform, and the ability to publish your work to the Web. For more features you can choose the upgrades, but if you’re looking for something simple, you may be able to make do with freemium. It employs a simple drag and drop method, too–no coding, no finding a host, no worrying about layout, just input your text and drop in your images.

Free workshops, please — PC users, eat your heart out. For all you Mac converts out there, Apple retail stores offer free workshops (I repeat, free) to train users on its software, programs, and devices. If you’ve being trying to figure out how to get started using some of the most popular editing technology (e.g., Final Cut Pro and Photoshop), you may want to check this out. Signing up couldn’t be easier–just visit the Apple Website to find the nearest retailer and register for the class you’d like to attend. Apple also offers one-on-one training–free personal and professional development is always a bonus.

Renita Burns is a staff writer at

  • Thank you for the above information. As a new business owner, I can see why many professionals say they do not have time for social networking. Before I launched my company, I used to think blogging takes less than an hour. In addition to running my new company and working full time, I spend at least two hours each day looking for the right links and pictures for my blog posts. Twitter is a little easier since you are limited to 140 characters. To make things easier, I post a link of each day’s post on my personal and business Facebook fan page. No one told me it would be this hard but I am having fun and I cannot complain because I am doing I love and working for myself and no one will ever take that away from me.

    • Hi Tawa,
      How have you managed to incorporate blogging and other forms of social media into your daily or weekly schedule and still run your business? Do you set aside one day per week to do so? Also, have you tried any of the programs that will let you update your social media sites simultaneously such as friendfeed?

  • Kelli

    Black Enterprise is on point today!  I’m so glad I decided to follow you guys on twitter.  As a 27 year old black female who owns several franchises, is currently studying for the bar, and working a full time job I have been looking at cost effective ways to establish our real web presence through a website.  Over the course of the last 6 months we have utilized social networking and marketing as much as possible through Facebook, Twitter, and Constant Contact.  Through these mechanisms we have been able to reach customers of all walks of life and all ages – letting them know of specials, special discounts, and constantly sending out coupons via the web.  Thank God for blackberrys and Iphones – I carry one of each and am constantly updating our facebook fan and regular accounts daily.  We are still trying to get people to catch on to following us on Twitter though.  But this will not only help in getting the word out about our restaurants, but also regarding our newly established non-profit organization and our future endeavors – all at a cheaper price than allowing someone to do it for us.
    Great article!  Keep up the good work.

  • Renita,

    I have managed to incorporate blogging and other methods of social media into my schedule by making better use of my down time, this means I watch TV less, I make appointments with myself by using the hour lunch break I get at my day job to write as many drafts as I can. I also get up an hour earlier on my weekends off ( I work every other weekends). I found that this seem to be the best time of the day for me to get inspirations.

    I have not tried Friendfeed but I will it check out after this post.

    Thank you.