BuddyPress Beginning to Mature At the Right Time
By Jeff Sayre
I’ve written about social-networking fatigue in the past, and still believe that–in the long term–distributed Social Web platforms will win out over the traditional, Web2.0-styled, closed-data-silo social networks. However, until that time arrives, a crack in the armor of the mega social networking sites may be expanding. This presents the BuddyPress project with a prime opportunity.
There is new research out that indicates that teenagers are starting to look for alternatives to Facebook for their social-networking needs. Some of the stated reasons (besides fatigue) are that they’re fed up with advertising inundation and insufficient privacy controls. When it comes to Facebook’s privacy controls, many teens find them hard to use, difficult to understand, and believe that Facebook will likely change them again.
The result? As users become overwhelmed and burnt out by the one–size–fits–all social networking monoliths, they are beginning to seek out more intimate, interest-specific communities. This provides an opening to developers who wish to create narrowly-focused, niche networks. BuddyPress is a great tool that can allow you to do just that.
With BuddyPress fast approaching its version 1.3 release (around the new year), now is the perfect time for those who have been thinking about creating a targeted community to learn how BuddyPress can help achieve that goal. A well–executed BuddyPress site could offer potential members a more meaningful, productive experience than simply joining another Facebook group.
As an open source project, BuddyPress thrives as a result of its community. If you are a designer, developer, or site owner, please consider joining the community and helping to evolve BuddyPress into a strong alternative to the traditional social-networking platforms. New ideas, energy, and contributions are always welcome.
If you’re currently running a niche social network, or thinking about creating one, you should be aware of a possible threat on the horizon. It is up to the Web’s netizens to fight for equal access and data equality.
December 15, 2010: Also, see my article Leverage BuddyPress to Build Your Niche Community posted on buddydress.com.
September 2, 2010: If you don’t think that BuddyPress or niche social networking is growing in popularity, see this article.