If you can get it right, Social Networking is the key to the kingdom. You will never have to worry about your next blog post, because users will post and manage their own content. You will be free to focus on the important stuff like marketing, partnerships and monetization.
Of course, great social networks need great software. No one wants to play on a slow network and users won’t create profiles if they think your software isn’t secure. When choosing a social networking platform, you need to make sure the software looks professional, is stable and will be around for the long haul.
Here are the programs and platforms you’ll encounter in your search for social networking software.
BoonEx Dolphin Social Community Software.
Now on version 7, Dolphin is a fully mature network platform with lots of Web 2.0 features: forums, blogs, groups, video sharing and recording, private chat with video, built-in music player, whiteboards, and even an open source iPhone App that you can connect to you social network. Dolphin has an community of collaborators building extensions and offering support — this is an important thing to look for when choosing any open source software! There is a nice marketplace set up that allows new users to purchase things like installation services and templates.
Though open-source, Dolphin isn’t exactly free social networking software. You’ll need to pay licensing fee if you want to completely brand your social network as your own.
Elgg Social EngineElgg is the underlying social engine which provides the building blocks to create social applications and sites. The default install includes profiles, groups, blogs, the ability to embed or upload a variety of media, simple social bookmarking tools, tags and categories, and a microblogging feature called “The wire” which is akin to running your own twitter service. Elgg is a fully extendable networking platform with an active development community and 766 available plugins at last count. There are plugins to add everything from geolocation capabilities to an in-network marketplace.
For users that require more robust support for their social networking site, there is also a fee-based Enterprise edition available from elgg.com.