BuddyPress is a quite popular social networking plugin, mainly because it is built by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. Automattic, refers to BuddyPress as ‘Social networking in a box’. BuddyPress is a highly flexible plugin, and is perfectly suited to create a small social network.
Features Provided by BuddyPress
BuddyPress right out of the box, provides you the following features to help create a vibrant social network:
Create User Profiles: Just like for every social network, you can create a smashing user profile. There are options to even extend profiles, by adding custom fields during registration. For example, for a company’s social network site, you could add a phone number and department field.
Ability to Create Groups: BuddyPress allows you to create groups for members. The groups can be private, public or hidden. These options allow you to control the visibility and accessibility of a group. You could create a group for each department in your company.
Adding Friends: Each member can grow their network by adding friends. A friend can be invited to join groups. There should be no restrictions when adding friends, except that registration is limited only to company employees. Growing your network can increase knowledge sharing, and improve accessibility to individuals.
Notifications and Activity Streams: Get notified when you are mentioned in a post, or keep updated with friend and group activities using Activity Streams. This can help improve participation in conversations, or notifications about team activities.
Create Social Network for your Company using BuddyPress
A social network, say for your company or university, is just an extension of your website, with the possibility for users to login, post messages and interact. The use of BuddyPress allows you to perfectly tailor the social network as per your need. Since BuddyPress by itself has limited number of features, there are several plugins available to extend the capabilities of the plugin. We have listed some useful plugins, which you can use when building your site.
The BuddyPress Docs plugin provides you a documents workspace option, where you can create and share documents.
The docs provide a shared workspace, where many members can work at once.
Privacy options are provided when sharing a document. Documents can be shared at the group level, or can be private or public.
At the company level, this plugin could be used to share informative documents within a group. Documents can be searched using tags, and are sortable.
Instead of having just a flat structure, you could create levels using BP Group Hierarchy plugin.
You can create multiple groups within a group. For example, there can be a top level group for your department, you can have lower level groups for each team.
Since groups created are essentially BuddyPress groups, all extensions used for the groups can be used for sub-groups as well.
To receive email notifications of posts or group activity, you can use the BuddyPress Group Email Subscription plugin.
Members can subscribe to email notifications, wherein user activity streams can be summarized and mailed to them on a timely basis.
Members can also receive notifications about posts they started.
Admin can set the email subscription level for members or groups.
Although the Chat plugin developed by WPMU, was not built specifically for BuddyPress, the new version integrates well with BuddyPress, to add a chat option in your social network.
A chat status notification is added in the friend list, to give you a visual notification of member availability.
Chat settings can be controlled at the group level.
Group chats can be started between all members of the group.
Keep the spammers and sploggers away with WangGuard plugin
WangGuard protects your WordPress and BuddyPress registration pages from spammers.
Do note that WangGuard only protects registration pages and does not stop spam comments.
bbPress Plugin for Forums
bbPress does not need any introduction. It is the go to forum software for your WordPress site. Since both are developed by the same company, both plugins go well together.
Integrating BuddyPress and bbPress allows you to create group-wide or site-wide forums.
Forums can be a great place in a community to get quick member opinions and feedback.
Group based forums can also be used to put up announcements.
These plugins can surely help you when creating a social networking site for your business. Can you make a few more plugin suggestions for our readers?