Cutting Edge: Free Resources for Navigating Web 2.0

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