Social networks, or beefed-up blogs?

I have been looking around recently at social networkings systems, focusing on freely available ones, such as Elgg (which powers the rather lovely UnLtdWorld, and which has its proper v1.0 release out soon) and PeopleAggregator. The other option I had thought of would be to fashion something out of Drupal.

A post at Read/WriteWeb, however, has made me step back and think a little:

Platforms like WordPress and Movable Type democratized the process of self-publishing. With these tools, everyone could be a publisher and it didn’t require advanced technical expertise to do so. Now, the next revolution for publishing is to bring that same ease of creation to the process of building social networks. With Six Apart’s recent release of Movable Type 4.2, that revolution has begun. The new release provides DIY tools for building your own social networking platform which includes member profiles, forums, friending capabilities, rating of content, and more. WordPress isn’t too far behind, either – a new platform called BuddyPress, is being built on the WordPress core. Is this the future of blogging? Or is this the future of web publishing altogether?

I had been aware of BuddyPress for a while, but whilst I have noted Moveable Type’s development, I’ve never really go into that platform, for some reason. I think the Buddy/WordPress approach is sound, though, not building up the core functionality of the platform, but adding the social networking features as add-ons. If you want it, it’s there to use, otherwise you don’t need to be troubled with it.

BuddyPress is sadly some way from being production ready, so for now I’ll stick with the dedicated social network platforms. But in the future, rather than learn a new system, it will be a lot easier to use one I am familiar with to develop exactly what I need.

What are other folks’ views?

4 thoughts on “Social networks, or beefed-up blogs?”

  1. I’m keeping an eye on those too – at the moment we have a site that uses Joomla with some social networking type add ons but it takes a long time to configure everything and often then there are limitations or things don’t play the way I’d like them too.

    I couldn’t figure out the licensing for Movable Type though so I’m going to have a play around with Elgg for now and failing that maybe see how buddypress develops.

    I think WordPress is much more enjoyable to set up than Drupal which we also played around with a while ago for that site but I got fed up configuring it.

  2. I’ve been messing around with but I’ve not explored in this direction much yet – look forward to reading what you find.

  3. . I’ve been messing around with but I’ve not explored in this direction much yet – look forward to reading what you find.

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