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BuddyPress: The WordPress Social Network Plugin

written by: sherisaid•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/30/2009

BuddyPress is an open source (free) plugin for Wordpress that allows web developers to link a private social network similar in function to facebook to a blogging community. It also offers some extended features to add richness and detail to the Wordpress user experience.

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    Extended profile options – Site admins can define several different types of custom fields to create unique blogger profiles, choosing between options like text box, date selector and radio buttons. The fields can then be arranged into sections. To put it into perspective, a blogging community with a focus on writers might add fields for "Work in progress" or "Published work" sections.

    Friends – Much like other social networking sites, BuddyPress allows users to search for, befriend, and interact with other users. Friend lists are displayed and accessible on the user's profile page.

    Private Messaging System – Users can exchange private messages with others on their friend list and also send out messages aimed at multiple members.

    Activity Stream – The activity stream is an update of what users do onsite. Users and friends' activities including blog posts, new friendships, and comments are reported in a simple list format with links to view the activity in more detail.

    The Wire – Users can post public messages to friend's or group profiles.

    Groups – Any user can start a public or private BuddyPress group. Groups can have a wire and a forum, and user permissions can be set by the group administrator.

    User Blog Tracking – Since bloggers often have multiple blogs exploring different topics, the blog tracking component is set up to list all blogs and blog posts written by the user, plus blog comments on his own or other blogs within the community.

    Forums – Forum functionality allows users to create and manage private or public forums that may stand alone or be associated with groups.

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    Monetizing BuddyPress

    BuddyPress plug in is versatile and has a lot of component functionality. It can be used as a complete package or parts can be used to customize an existing blogging network, with or without additional plugins. It offers very similar working functionality to that of Facebook with a similar look and feel. Web developers who find a specific niche market and develop a BuddyPress blogging community around it could potentially be very successful in attracting advertising revenue.