A “social network in a box” solution
If you’ve ever dreamed of creating your own successful social network, it’s no longer as difficult as it may have once seemed. BuddyPress allows you to create your very own social network within the world’s most popular blog framework – WordPress. Best of all, the installation and implementation is easy enough for a novice Internet user. All you need is the desire to build a community and the ability to find others interested in that community.
BuddyPress was originally launched in May, 2009 and has been improving ever since. Version 1.2 was released just 3 days ago making the implementation process simple. Manual installation is no longer required, so turning your WordPress site into a BuddyPress site is accomplished by simply adding various BuddyPress plugins, tweaking your design and customizing the functionality – all within the WordPress dashboard.
Did I mention it’s free? There’s one default theme included in the BuddyPress plugin which can easily be edited for your own tastes. However, if you would like to save yourself some time and energy, you can purchase premium themes (also customizable) from sites like WPMU Dev.
- Activity streams – Global, personal and group activity streams with threaded commenting, direct posting, favoriting and @mentions. All with full RSS feed and email notification support.
- Extended profiles – Fully editable profile fields allow you to define the fields users can fill in to describe themselves. Tailor profile fields to suit your audience.
- Extensible groups – Powerful public, private or hidden groups allow your users to break the discussion down into specific topics. Extend groups with your own custom features using the group extension API.
- Friend connections – Let your users make connections so they can track the activity of others, or filter on only those users they care about the most.
- Private messaging – Private messaging will allow your users to talk to each other directly, and in private. Not just limited to one on one discussions, your users can send messages to multiple recipients.
- Discussion forums – Full powered discussion forums built directly into groups allow for more conventional in-depth conversations.
- WordPress blogging – Start a blog built on the best blogging software in the world. Even allow each of your users to start their own full powered WordPress blog. Track new posts and comments across your site.
Examples of BuddyPress Sites:
- Solo Practice University is a paid educational service which instructs lawyers and law students on the nuances of owning and running a solo law practice.
- Tasty Kitchen offers “favorite recipes from real kitchens everywhere”. Members can share their own recipes, connect with others, rate recipes and more.
- Flokka is an online community for women in business and other leadership roles. Members can start a blog, add an existing blog, and share their content with others.
- Unstructure delivers an open discussion platform for thought leaders, professionals and bloggers to discuss ideas regarding the evolution of business.
- Wanna Network is an online networking community for real estate professionals intended to help members generate new business opportunities through social media.
While BuddyPress won’t magically transform you into Mark Zuckerberg and help you create the next Facebook, it can help you build a niche community with a tremendous amount of flexibility. Furthermore, BuddyPress gives you the opportunity to host the network yourself allowing full control over the functionality and any revenue opportunities.
If you are currently using BuddyPress, please leave a link to your site in the comments section below. We would also love to hear any feedback regarding your experience.