Web Communications (Almost Always) for Free

The other day I wrote up a collection of information for a non-profit starting to get into social media. Thought I might as well share it more broadly.

Blogs can be free – for example

  • Blogger – https://www.blogger.com/start – It’s free and totally WYSIWYG, plus there’s lots of information on how to use it.
  • WordPress.com – http://wordpress.com/ – A stronger more flexible host, that requires some know-how but is basically WYSIWYG. Again, tutorials and videos are available; use Google & search for them.
    • Both of these require only people to learn how to use them and then to write, post pictures etc.
  • You can also pay for experts to run blogs and for more expensive systems. I’d go for the simplest, that is, Blogger, if I were you.

Chat rooms,

  • What do you want chat rooms for?
    • If you just want a way for a group’s members to communicate, check out Google Groups – http://groups.google.com/?pli=1 – It’s free, email-based and asynchronous. People send to their Google Group and it goes to all the members, who can then reply if they want to.
    • If you do want to talk to a small group all at the same time, you might try Skype – http://www.skype.com/ – also free
    • There are other ways to set up chat rooms, too, but that’s a start.

Ask an expert forum,

  • Probably you should just set up a FAQ on a wiki where people could share expertise.

Social networking site

  • Ning is a very good free one – it does take time and expertise to set up and maintain – http://www.ning.com/



  • Again, what do you want it for?
    • If for live webcasting, check out Ustream – http://www.ustream.tv/ – free, but time and expertise required
    • If for presentations or tutorials, check out SlideShare for PowerPoints – http://www.slideshare.net/ – it’s free and only requires the creation and uploading of slide shows
    • Screencasts are interesting – people get to see what’s on your screen and hear you speak – Jing – http://www.jingproject.com/ or Screenr – http://screenr.com/ – both are free but you have to learn a little to use them
    • Also, if you create a video, you can upload it for free at a number of sites, including YouTube and Vimeo
    • You might find VoiceThreads interesting too – http://voicethread.com/#home


On-line seminars

  • See webcasts

Almost all the costs for the ones I’ve mentioned are people-based – needing only expertise and/or time to learn

Joan Vinall-Cox, PhD
JNthWEB Consulting – http://jnthweb.ca/
Social Media & Learning
Halton Peel Communicators Association – http://www.hpcaonline.org/

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