What I’ve heard is that the owners of WordPress have been considering breaking into the Social Networking market. But there’s a catch. You have to use WordPress MU.
What’s that? It’s the lesser known, installable version of WordPress that allows multiple users to create their own blogs using one hosting server. That’s what WordPress.com is all about. For example, http://JerryLeventer.Wordpress.com is located on the well known WordPress’s MU platform. The difference is that with WPMU anyone can setup that type of multi-user blogging community.
The idea that you have to put all your content on someone else’s site in order to network with your friends and associates does not appeal to a lot of people, including myself. I would rather one of us be the owner of that content. So this will be an alternative to sites like Ning, MySpace, LinkedIn, FaceBook.
That is why Matt Mullenweg has hired Andy Peatling, the guy who developed BuddyPress, and they are now working together to create a Social Networking plugin for WordPress MU.
TechVibes describes BuddyPress as,
[…] a series of plug-ins that allows you to turn a WordPress MU instillation into a fully functional social network.
And Matt Mullenweg says about social networking,
[…] weâ€™ll be taking the BuddyPress project under our wing. We will grow it and support it the same way we support WordPress, MU, bbPress, Akismet, and more… Itâ€™s clear that the future is social. Connections are key. WordPress MU is a platform which has shown itself to be able to operate at Internet-scale and with BuddyPress we can make it friendlier.
TechCrunch had some interesting comments,
It is easy to dismiss this as completely unnecessary given the abundance of social networks already out there, as well as application development platforms like OpenSocial. But an open-source social network does present some intriguing possibilities.
You can find a concise description of WordPress MU here
TechCrunch listing of the Top Nine Social Networking Platforms
Jeremiah Owyang’s Ultimate List of White Label Social Networking Platforms