HOW TO START AND MAKE YOUR OWN SOCIAL NETWORK
There has been an explosion of social networking activities online and this has been the most important trend online in the past few years.
This is visible with the success of such social networks like facebook, myspace, twitter, linkedin etc. Facebook alone which launched in 2006 commands over 500 million registered users globally as of 2010 statistics.
This explosion has prompted various well-wishers and companies to create open social networking scripts at a free cost. Now you just have to download, install, configure and preach the gospel about your new Social network.
Some of such open social networking scripts include:
This is a wordpress sister project. It comes as a wordpress plugin. Some of its outstanding features include: User profiles, private messaging, friends/buddylist, groups, activity streams, a wall/stream like section named "the wire" for status updates and tweet like on site micro blogging.
Elgg is a fabulous platform written in PHP which you can use to create a myspace or facebook like site. In 2008 it won the category for best social networking platform, also it has a viable and active community which makes it eligible for a try. Some notable sites using elgg include-->.BuddyGo ,CourseWare, Hedgehodge, University of Nebraska
Some of its features include: Blog, chat, file sharing features, customizable user profiles, youtube video embedding.
My recommendations on some helpful books on social networks
-Xoops with yogurt extension
Xoops is an extensible CMS which you can use to start a site based on your needs. However with xoops alone you cannot create a social network. You need to install a particular module called "yogurt". With this yogurt extension prepare to get a fully packed social networking with features like: Photo albums, youtube video embed, mp3 files, Friends list, a public wall named "scraps", create tribes and many more.
Pligg is a CMS system you can use to start a site like Digg, Mixx. Some of its features include: user profiles, voting on things that are good, private messaging, members have full control over their content, each user gets own profile.
Drigg is another script you can use to start a digg like site. It is a drupal module. Some of its powerful features include: flexible voting, automatic voting, and automatic role assignment.
With this open source script you can start your own micro-blogging website like twitter. Some of its features include: Status/notices, messaging, user profiles etc.
Yonkly is a asp.net based script you can use to start your own micro-blogging platform. Some of its features include: Support for Groups and timeline, Message search.
Mahara is an e-portfolio platform and you can use it to setup an online learner community.
Some of its outstanding features include: Blog, Résumé builder, a file manager, institutions detail and the social networking aspect of adding and maintaining your friends.
-Lovd by Less
Another great script and the first of its kind on Ruby on rails platform. Some of its outstanding features include: Blogs, photo gallery with captions, search friends, activity update and user messaging system.
Update: Loved by Less development was stopped. You can't view the demo nor download the script from the original site but you can still download it from Github. I have updated the download link above.
Jcow is another great php script you can use to start your own facebook like site. It has both a free and premium version .Some features of its free version include: User proofiles, status updates, blogs, forums e.t.c
Oxwall is unbelievably flexible and easy to use PHP/MySQL community software platform.
Features include: Video upload, photo albums, Groups, forum, link, chat and many more
Laconica is another great script to start your own micro-blogging website like twitter. Oone great feature of Laconica is the Support for open I.D.
This site Identi.ca uses laconica as its platform
Update: Laconica is now under STATUS.NET
However you can still download the version used by identi.ca here: http://status.net/wiki/Laconica_0.8.0
Jisko microblogging development stopped in 2010 but is it is still worthy noticing.You can use it to start your own twitter like site. Download and try it.