Welcome to the latest and greatest for building your very own social network – buddypress.

This specialty plugin is a plugin and theme combination. And at this time of writing, only is compatible with wordpress mu. This is the multi-blog version of WordPress.

So, what do I think about Buddypress?

Buddypress is not a terribly hard package to install. I did make a few mistakes along the way, but if you ‘carefully’ read the errors, you should be able to correct problems as they crop up.

So, installation wasn’t too bad. How about usage. Here’s where I did struggle a bit. Now, I’ll be honest, it’s not a Facebook killer.

Facebook excels in a few areas and is the reason it’s so popular:

  • Simple interface – in Facebook’s history, they had a very simple but functional interface. It totally oriented on allowing you to easily communicate with others who join Facebook too.
  • Simple content insertion – again, they allow you to upload pictures and written facts, aka, the wall. Very easy to use and simple to implement. This made Facebook a winner.
  • Simple security – Facebook has one policy. If the other person is a friend, then they are allowed in your world. Otherwise, no access.

Now, Facebook has continued to raise the bar on a ‘freely available’ social network. Chat, specialty apps, higher degree of sophistication when embedding media.

This, in my opinion, is the starting point that Buddypress should aspire to, IF, they are trying to be the next Facebook killer.

I did see some of this fuctionality in Buddypress, but the end product is very far from this goal. To me, it’s a killer at this time. With Facebook having a bar so high, it makes it very hard for others to just compete.

If Facebook charged a membership fee, free alternatives could at that point compete, even if they didn’t have the same level of sophisticated simplicity.

The future of Buddypress and why bother with it?

Well, if this open source project doesn’t get de-railed and grows into a Facebook competitor, it could provide you and I a unique opportunity in business.

Imagine creating a virtual community of daily visitors who come by the 1,000’s or 10,000’s to visit each day to chat and talk about issues of the day.

The advertising opportunity would be very lucrative to say the least. All you have to do is look at the likes of Facebook or Google, to know how profitable it could be to provide a ‘free service’.  So, we have to give the open source project time to grow, much like planting an apple seed in the ground.

As the old saying goes, ‘you can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the number of apples in a seed!’.

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Filed under: general wordpress

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