Is WordPress Launching a Social Network?
With the millions of blogs using WordPress platform, it is not surprising if we might see some social networking facility soon. Well, actually it may be on our way if we are to take the new BuddyPress WP Suite as WordPress’ baby step towards establishing a WordPress powered social networking site. What is BuddyPress?
BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes that adds social networking features to WordPress MU. For those living under a rock, WordPress MU is a WordPress variant made specifically for blogs with multiple authors.
BuddyPress’ suite can be used to establish a social network from scratch or to add specific plugins and themes to an existing WP MU-powered blog network.
What are the Features of BuddyPress?
Just by looking at these BuddyFeatures, you’d know that indeed BuddyPress seems to be a robust social networking application. BuddyPress’ features include:
- Extended Profiles – more fields for personal information
- Private Messaging – through internal site email
- Friends List – connect with friends within a BuddyPress site
- The Wire - content commenting feature
- Activity Streams – activity aggregator
- Blog Tracking – blog aggregator
BuddyPress is not an alternative social network
According to Matt of WordPress.org, BuddyPress is not something which you use instead of your existing social networks. This means, he is not advocating BuddyPress as a social network alternative. But he went on to say that BuddyPress could be a good framework to use if you want a social network with more control, friendlier TOS or a fully customized and tweaked platform for your existing WordPress MU site.
As of now, BuddyPress is not yet a full social networking site. But given WordPress’ flexibility, I wouldn’t really be surprised if we wake up someday with a WordPress social network. Perhaps something like Ning.