Creating Social Networks Will No Longer Be a Luxury

In early August, the specialized publication Infoworld gave an award to Elgg, a platform for creating social networks, in the category of best open-source software for collaboration. At that time, hardly anyone other than specialists even knew what it was. That remains the case but things could change in the future. Specialized blogs have celebrated the recent release of version 1.0 of Elgg (elgg.org) as evidence that open-source software is ready to have its voice be heard in the world of social network creation platforms. In short, Elgg provides a content-management solution that lets anyone create and manage their own social network. The fact that it uses the general public license means it can avoid the limitations of proprietary social networking sites, such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, for instance, which make their own rules for admission and content.

The popularity of this type of open-source projects (there are other similar ones in various stages of development) could benefit from the fact that social networks that are too generalized in nature are starting to show signs of fatigue, as Genís Roca explains in “Soluciones para nuevas realidades. Modelos de negocio en las redes sociales” [“Solutions for New Realities: Business Models for Social Networks”], an article that does not refer to Elgg but which is included in the interesting report on social networks published by the magazine Telos in its July/September issue from this year. The important aspect of this new generation of open-source platforms is that they allow anyone to use them as they wish and at no cost, and that they contain the necessary functions for managing a proprietary social network with hardly any need for programming. While this is a budding trend and, as pointed out in the online publication Con el ordenador a cuestas, is still suffering from the inherent defects of its youth, its gradual consolidation could lead to the emergence of a new wave of service providers that would take care of personalizing these sites to their clients’ liking, or even manage and maintain them. At the same time will come an array of both free and paid companion products (themes, i.e., meaning predesigned templates; widgets, hosting services, and more) as we’ve seen with other successful open-source bids, such as the blog creation tool WordPress, for example. Basically, we will see the disappearance of the current technological barriers for starting up a new social network.

Articles in InfoWorld

One Response to “Creating Social Networks Will No Longer Be a Luxury”

  1. Peter says:

    Creating Social Networks is really fun especially when in the positon to theorize about social networks and actually developing them after.