Using BuddyPress for Social Networks

Installing BP

Before installing BuddyPress it’s best to get your basic WordPress installation configured correctly, this in itself can be quite a complex task and there are going to be many aspects of this that I will not have space here to go into in detail but what I hope to achieve in this post is to give you a basic idea of what is needed and to get yourself in a position to run and install BuddyPress on a firm platform.

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During this article I would like to explore the steps you would take at the very beginning of you social networking journey with BuddyPress.

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The main BuddyPress Forum component is bbPress. This is a core piece of software created by the creators of WordPress and it is pretty much fully integrated into WordPress and BuddyPress. With bbPress you can create two types of forum in a BuddyPress context – Site-wide forums and Group Forums. Site-wide forums have to be setup by the site admin whilst group forums are optional aspects of groups that are enabled by the group creator.

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Mycred is a full featured system for awarding points based on member participation at your site, the types of activities that result is points being awarded are entirely configurable and you can install add-ons such as Badges that allow you to create badges to be awarded when certain points levels have been attained. For all it’s power MyCred is pretty simple to install and configure.

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Events Manager is a rich featured Events plugin for WordPress/BuddyPress. Truth be told it is probably overkill for many BuddyPress sites however it does offer good integration with BuddyPress and it’s diverse range of options mean that it should be the only Events Manager you will ever need.

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Now that you have installed BuddyPress and have configured a number of eats features and those of add-ons it’s important that you get to know BuddyPress from a users perspective. This article will take you through some of the basic features of your BuddyPress Installation from a users perspective. The exact range of features available on any site will depend upon which features have been enabled by the site Admin.

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One feature missing from the default BuddyPress installation is media galleries and the ability to allow BuddyPress users to upload their own images to be shared with others. Typical hosted social platforms allow the addition of media in three ways – media can be uploaded to a members personal profile page, for sharing with others and display on their profile page, Media can be uploaded to groups and held in a group gallery and media can be uploaded “to the site” – typically placed in a single collective gallery for all to see and often these images are displayed in a front page slider showcasing the uploads of those members. Sometimes media uploads can be marked as “Featured” and will be displayed in a featured content area in the main gallery.

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So far we have installed our basic BuddyPress install for our Ning style social network, we have done a lot. But still the site we have created lacks features, for example there is no Chat or sharing of photo’s and video’s, it would be nice to have events, the groups are pretty basic as are the member profiles. This article attempts to show you how you can move further towards your dream social site by introducing quite a large number of plugins and giving you basic information about how to install and use them.

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The combination of WordPress and BuddyPress is a powerful and complex mix, it will take you some time playing with all of the features in order for you to come up with your ideal site. In this article I would like to take you through the basics of getting to know your site and customising it for your purposes, in future articles I will cover adding additional features to your site in order to further customise your installation.

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This article is going to take you through setting up BuddyPress for the first time. It is geared towards people trying to set up Social Networking sites with features similar to those available with Ning or other hosted Social Network providers, as such it assumes that you will want all of the features of BuddyPress, plus a few more (well, a whole bunch more!).

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