To use WebRing.com, you don't have to use AOL. If you want to join an AOL webring, yes you would need to use AOL.
Why not join this WebRing first to get a feel for how it works? My First WebRing - http://u.webring.com/hub?ring=myfirstwebring
Learn more about WebRing here: Newbies Guide - http://home.dejazzd.com/androb/wrug/newbie.html
And welcome to WebRing! MonaLS