Social networking websites have been around since the mid-90’s, but in recent years, social networking has exploded across the web. The Web 2.0 initiative has made modern social networking sites increasingly popular and easier to use than the initial wave of sites that launched in the 90’s. It’s super important these days to have a presence on social media sites. Did you know that Facebook in 2009 had more than 300 million users, and roughly half of these logged in every day? I can also tell you that twitter attracted more than 22 million unique visitors every month and YouTube had more than 100 million users in the US alone. Do you think these numbers will grow in 2010? There may still be niches waiting for someone to launch a dedicated service – in theory this could be you. In fact it is not that hard any more as you will see in this article.
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A social networking service focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user, his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, share ideas, discuss shared concerns etc. The value can be huge for the involved individuals which of course is why so many people have adopted social networking.
If you like Social Media Graphics, make sure to check out the thousands of fully-licensed premium examples found over at Envato Market.
Lets take a look at how easy it has become to create a new social networking service. As the area have matured we have seen fully functional platforms show up to make it a no-brainer to get started. In this article you will find 25 excellent platforms to pick from.
SocialEngine is community software that you install on your own web server, giving you 100% ownership of your social network’s user data and content. You can use SocialEngine to create various kinds of communities with different frameworks, like Twitter-style followers or Facebook-style friendships. SocialEngine also has an active development community with hundreds of addons, templates, and themes. The software also includes a drag-and-drop CMS for easily customizing your community’s layout.
Sorceforge is the world’s largest opensource software development web site. We provide free services that help people build cool stuff and share it with a global audience.
Ning is the leading online platform for the world’s organizers, activists and influencers to create their own social network. Design a custom social experience in under 30 seconds giving you the power to mobilize, organize and inspire.
Elgg.com is where you can get a network up and running in minutes. With support from the Elgg team and plenty of customization options, you can make it exactly how you want it
5. Xoops with Yogurt Extension
XOOPS is a web application platform written in PHP for the MySQL database. Its object orientation makes it an ideal tool for developing small or large community websites, intra company and corporate portals, weblogs and much more.
BuddyPress is completely free and open source. Unlike hosted services, BuddyPress allows you to stay in control of your site and create a totally customized, unique experience
KickApps provides solutions that enable the creation and management of next generation web experiences. These solutions are social, interactive, dynamic, distributed, and data-informed. KickApps solutions consist of a suite of hosted media applications and services that are used by some of the world’s largest websites and brands to grow & engage their online audiences and foster deeper relationships with customers.
Mahara is an open source e-portfolio system with a flexible display framework. Mahara, meaning ‘think’ or ‘thought’ in Te Reo M?ori, is user centred environment with a permissions framework that enables different views of an e-portfolio to be easily managed. Mahara also features a weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities.
It’s a place to keep tabs on your favorite developers and projects, easily contribute fixes and new features, and visualize what’s going on inside your codebase!
10. Lovd By Less
Built with Ruby on Rails, Lovd is a social networking solution that has everything you need to build your community
11. Anahita Social Engine
Anahita Social Engine is an open source platform, framework, and design methodology for building all kinds of social networking applications and services using an organic Nodes-Graphs-Stories architecture. Anahita is available under the Gpl2 License
The mixxt GmbH is a provider of innovative Social Network and Online Community solutions and operator of the European Community platform mixxt. mixxt lets everyone create an individual Community and helps making communication and organization easier and more efficient. Community hosts can directly get in contact with their customers or target group and present themselves as interactive and innovative, without renouncing privacy, structure or an own design
Customize profile fields.
Create groups. Invite friends.
Send private messages. Comment on walls.
Share photos. Follow updates via activity stream.
Integrate 3rd party components with our robust API.
Flock is a browser. The people at Flock are committed to building a browser unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before – because they start by focusing on user needs. They take pride in solving for common behaviors on the Web that seem clunky today, and will seem ridiculous tomorrow.
Social marketing software and services for global brands and advertising agencies.
19. Going On
GoingOn provides a fast and cost effective way to build vibrant online communities. Leveraging the best of today’s social web, GoingOn Community Platform enables academic institutions to deliver new, more engaging models of knowledge management and social collaboration across their campuses, and to their broad network of constituents. The results include increased student engagement, improved faculty product-ivity, enhanced online learning and broader marketing outreach.
20. Demand Media
Pligg is an open source CMS (Content Management System) that you can download and use for free. Pligg CMS provides social networking software that encourages visitors to register on your website so that they can submit content and connect with other users. Our software creates websites where stories are created and voted on by members, not website editors. Use Pligg content management system to start your own social networking community in minutes.
Broadband Mechanics’ PeopleAggregator is an experiment in building social networks around open standards so that people can easily move between networks, whether or not those networks are run by the same owners or contain the same features. If the social networking world were run the way Broadband Mechanics’ CEO Marc Canter envisions, Facebook users would easily be able to carry their identity (including all the information they owned on Facebook) over to MySpace, Orkut, and Friendster. Then any changes to their identities on those networks could be brought back over to Facebook.
24. One Site
ONEsite, a subsidiary of the hosting company Catalog.com, provides a hybrid social networking / CMS platform. The ONEsite Platform includes custom profiles, user generated content (blogs, photos, videos, forums), activity streams, groups, calendars and a points and rewards system.
ONEsite includes hosted Software as a Service components as well as APIs and Widgets that can be integrated into external systems.
ONEsite provides in-house professional services for the implementation and integration of its platforms. The company also includes an in-house technical support and moderation group
Kootali is a customized and fully featured social networking script, similar to large sites like facebook, that lets you create a standalone social community site for allowing users to communicate and connect. It could be romantic, personal, professional or anything else. It gives your users the perfect environment to socialize and network with their online pals.
With the awesome features of Kootali, users can easily form a closed network under any category like work place, school, college and many more. Your users can network on the site to make, develop, and keep in touch with friends who focus on politics, religion, pets, sports and so forth.
Kootali allows your users to take an active role in building and contributing to the site content. Members can take part in discussions on hot topics, share articles, photos, and videos. Sharing snapshots and videos is a much better way to express individualism and uniqueness.
Try to look for your friends on the Earth Map, chat in the Video Chat. You will see that it is a different system, different from all the rest clone scripts out there, and if you do not want to make clone sites Chameleon is for you!
Other relevant resources
- Nine Ways to Build Your Own Social Network @techcrunch.com
- List of Social Networking Platforms, Community Platforms @web-strategist.com
- Social Networking Software @webbizideas.com
Dustin Betonio is a Translation Management graduate at University of Mindanao. His earlier career was devoted on customer service outside the information highway. Currently studying Law in the same University.
mooSocial also a very good option to setup your niche social media site. I’m using it for my niche and very happy. It includes all I needs and have mobi apps.
I need to build a brand-new dating website. Any suggestion concerning “pH7CMS”?
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A good choice is chameleon and NING
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For me Elgg is the winner, I’m currently building a “free” social network to link high schools. Its going slow as I am making sure I have all my x and ys crossed. So I look forward to making it work!
Why did you leave out FoxPHP in your interesting list. I have read a lot about its features, price structure and support and incline to go with it. Please convince me that it is not worth it.
I shared my experience using SocialEngine Php a few weeks ago in January. Here’s a further update to my earlier post.
The SE team never responded to my emails after the 1 month ‘free’ support window (most likely because I refused to pay $50 to get support to fix bugs in their software).
However they did release an update about 2 weeks ago which when installed rectified the bugs in their earlier release. So presently, the version I bought (SE4) seems to be working ok.
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Wow! Just deciding between Social Engine and phpFox and came across this awesome blog. Sad phpFox is not on the list and I need to research more on it, but Social Engine is definitely out. Read few unflattering reviews about Social Engine but to pay them additional fees to respond to email is insane.
Anyone with info on phpFox?
I’m sorry I missed this Orjense. You’ll find that SocialEngine offers significant benefit advantages over phpfox that more than compensate for the higher price point. (Full disclosure, I work for SocialEngine) In terms of experience in the community building field, SocialEngine has been in business since 2007, and are at the forefront of innovation in terms of features and packages. Just check out our recent release of SE Cloud and brand spanking new API! This has created a very active community of clients and developers who used our open platform to develop tons of cool features that enhance our core… Read more »
Thumbs up. I would like to test them all on my localhost but it would be costy. I hope you have provided a demo link for each of the social networking site platforms. Overall, the content is very good.
Thanks for sharing this article. However as a recent purchaser of the Social Engine software which I bought in November 2012, I wish to warn the entire public to stay away from Social Engine. Many of the files in the installation are full of bugs and SE support is absolutely horrible. Note that after 30 days, SE will not provide support to fix bugs in their own files unless you pay them to respond to your emails. Furthermore, all attempts to reach the team via email went unresponded. SE does not have any phone number by which you can reach… Read more »
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Thank you for adding SocialEngine to this list!
We’ve been working so hard on SocialEngine PHP it’s really nice to included with so many other great solutions out there.
Have you seen our hosted social media platform yet? We just launched it 2 months ago and would love some feedback on it from you!
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There are several social networking that you hadn’t mentioned in these articles which are commonly use for the community.
Felix, I guess you are right. It is a dynamic area and it is not possible to get everything included.. Please add your favourites in comments
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With all these choices, which social networking software is recomended for a beginner looking for the easiest to create with the most effective output?
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Glad to find JomSocial here. I’m a user and its integration with Joomla extensions are really great. It’s just like choose and pick all the available extensions in Joomla.
This is an awesome blog. The introduction of Boonex would be a good addition. But all the options you explained about are cool.
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