Social Networking

SocialEngine Social Networking Script

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I found social engine a few months back when I was searching for a decent open source social networking script. I found Elgg and tried that out for a bit, but it really didn’t do it for me. I’m still on the look out for a meaty open source platform for social networking, but so far the best scripts appear to be the commercial ones like social engine.

I just installed social engine today so I don’t have much to rant or rave about, but I have been poking around the demo for days in anticipation. This is what a social networking script should look like to me. I didn’t plan to install this trial so soon, but I just happened to come up with a five letter dotcom domain name that was available, so I bought it and ftp’d the files immediately. I’m actually posting this first before I even go through the install process.

Upon first glance it appears that there is a gargantuan list of features, but a lot of them are actually plugins that cost extra. This means the script could end up costing almost double in the end for the fully loaded model. At the same time, you really can’t put a price on finding the ideal script for what you’re trying to accomplish.

I’m pretty impressed with the amount of documentation and detail on the site. From feature details, community forums, newsletters, knowledge bases, FAQ’s, demos, and support tickets, the site seems to be a wealth of information. I’ll have to report back and let you know if social engine is worthy of my hype and excitement, or if it’s all just smoke and mirrors.

Would you be so kind as to Stumble this page?

Elgg Social Networking Software

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Elgg is an open source social networking software that I found while searching for free community building platforms. I really didn’t have a very good idea for a site, but I wanted to play around with Elgg, so I bought a domain and created a site for fans of classic TV shows.

I was enamored with Elgg for about a week before I started getting bored with it. I created some groups, set up my profile, and configured some settings in the administration area. There was a strange plugin setup where the lowest plugin in the list weighed the heaviest and would take precedence over others, or something to that effect.

The software is group based where users join and create groups for different topics. While that might seem like a good idea for social networking, I thought it was clunky and wasteful as people seemed to want to create new groups for topics equivalent to that of a new forum thread.

About three months after I abandoned the site, I went back to see how the site was doing and to my surprise I had about fifty users and over two hundred blog posts. All spamming users, all spamming blog posts. I’m sure there are ways to secure the site, but I just didn’t feel that it was worth spending the time learning any more about this software.

You can’t beat the fact that it’s free software to build your own community, but so far the commercial scripts I’ve tried are much more user friendly than any part of Elgg. The pay scripts seem to have features and settings that are easier to configure with much less of a learning curve and Elgg just can’t compare at this point.

There’s also a lack of support for Elgg right now. There are some plugin developers and a few theme developers, but overall I still felt the choices were limited. I only found a few different sites that created plugins and themes for Elgg, and a number of them were not free, so your open source site will incur some costs right off the bat unless you can develop your own add-ons and site designs.

If you want to give social networking a shot on the cheap, then by all means give Elgg a shot. You’ll be able to have a functional  and unique social networking site up pretty quickly, but what you sacrifice in money will unfortunately cost you in time. And hey, if you’re a television sitcom fan, I have an Elgg site to sell you.