Reviews of Several Social Networking Systems

Almost everybody these days has a Facebook. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have your own Facebook or MySpace? Well, look no further! The scripts below can do just that! A client who is setting up a networking group can use a tool like this or can build upon a tool like this. I do not suggest starting from scratch, as that is just a TON of work and then you never benefit from the work of other programmers who have “added on” to these platforms.

Elgg

http://elgg.org/

The premier, free social networking platform. Though not as full-featured as dolphin, it has a huge community of users. Checkout the site for more information. Entirely PHP/MySQL.

Benefits
free
easy to use
huge community
opensource
Cost

doesn’t have as many features as dolphin

Dolphin

http://www.boonex.com/products/dolphin/

Without a doubt the most feature-rich and professional of any social networking tool out there. It is expensive, however, and requires its own VPS to run. Sort of the “facebook” of the group.

Benefits
Most features
Most professional
opensource
Cost

Most expensive
Smaller community due to cost

Ning

http://about.ning.com/product.php

A great tool. Really feels like a “myspace” clone. Check the site to learn more.

Benefits
Tons of pre-built templates
Cost

Costs money, but cheaper…
Not particularly opensource

PHPBB

http://www.phpbb.com/
An industry standard forum system. Not a full “social networking” system, though.

Benefits
Can make custom templates
excellent forum system
very configurable
opensource
Cost

has a “box” it fits in and that’s all it does

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