BuddyPress: I Want My Social Network

bplogo Automattic has launched BuddyPress 1.0 and it is officially available to the public. What is that mean? Yes, go get your own social network.

BuddyPress used to be a developer of widgets for WordPress themes when Automattic, creator of the blogging platform, acquired it about a year ago. Today, the company is adding yet another variation to this whole social thing. Now you can have your own private social network.

BuddyPress can be downloaded for free and installed within the WordPress MU admin area. WordPress MU (Multi-User) is the platform that allows you to host several blogs.

Is this mean that everybody and their grandmas will start a private social site and quit Facebook? And we’ll have 10 million networks? Of course not, and according to Matt Wullenweg, creator of WordPress, this is a solution for people looking to gain more control over the site or customize it, but it doesn’t mean people will stop using the popular networks.

Some of the main features the platform offers today are profiles, private messaging, groups, blog tracking and activity streams, but it has been already announced to include status updates and photo albums later in the year.

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Of course there have been other options out there such as Elgg or Ning, but what I like about WordPress is the simplicity and how easy it is to manipulate for the non-technical user. After all, not everybody is a programmer. Automattic has created a great formula that allowed it to dominate the blogsphere and now they intend to the same with BuddyPress.

This is a great tool for businesses to keep fighting to engage customers and have them come back for more, especially for companies that have already developed a significant number of followers. On the other hand, if you or company is still young in this process, I recommend building your fan base to a decent number first. Nobody wants to sign up on a network with 3 users…

What’s next? This is the tip of the iceberg and now themes, widgets and plugins are going to start coming from developers all over the planet to take this baby to the next step.

For now you can download the demo provided at BuddyPress, install it on your WordPress MU and start playing with it.

You can also follow the latest events @ http://twitter.com/buddypressdev