Networking with BuddyPress

9:00 am in community, technologies by b.kelly

Use of Blogs and Social Networks at Previous Events

For the IWMW 2008 event we made use of a Ning social network to provide a forum for discussions and also an opportunity to evaluate the potential of social networking software to support an event.  The service was easy to set up and (at the time) there was no costs for use of the service.  However we found that the discussion forums were little used and, with the exception of the group on “Web CMS and University Web Teams Part II – the Never Ending Story?“, there was also littler takeup of the Ning groups.

Last year we decided that IWMW 2009 would be supported by an event blog. This proved successful, enabling the event organisers to keep participants informed of developments in the run-up to the event and, during the event itself, to publish summaries of the various talks and also include video clips and interviews with a number of the participants.

However use of the WordPress blog meant that the content we published was under the control of the organisers; we had lost the ability for participants themselves to initiate discussions.

Developments for IWMW 2010

This year we are again using a WordPress blog.  However we have installed the BuddyPress WordPress plugin as part of the blog environment.

BuddyPress is an open source social networking software package and the plugin transforms the blog into a social network platform.

Using BuddyPress will provide an opportunity for delegates (and remote participants) to network before, during and after the event. BuddyPress allows you to become a member of the site, add a user profile, create groups and group discussion forums, become ‘friends’ with other members and message them.

We will be interested to see if greater usage is made of the social networking environment at this year’s event. Is there, I wonder, a real demand for social networking software to support an event?