Using BuddyPress for Social Networks

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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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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BP Post Status adds three new Post Status options; alongside the usual publishing options, the post publishing box now supports Members Only, Friends Only and Group Post statuses, with Group Post providing a drop-down of available groups to assign the post to. It also adds a group posts tab in each group and provides the option to set a post as the group homepage.

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bbp Toolkit is a plugin that allows the site admin to make various styling changes to a sites bbPress forum pages plus more besides.

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bbp Style Pack is a huge styling plugin for bbPress and more besides. Using bbp Style Pack you can change the look and feel of just about any element of your bbPress forums, for example you can control the colours and font sizes of all elements of your forums listing page, you can do the same with each individual forum topics list page and you can control the same elements for the individual topic and reply page.

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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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This plugin is for admin who host BuddyPress Docs directories with significant numbers of docs in search of an alternative default sort order for the documents directory pages. By default BuddyPress Docs sorts in order to the last document edited. This simple plugin allows for this sort order to be changed, and for the number of documents per page to be increased.

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GR Dashboard notes, whilst not being specifically a BuddyPress plugin could be useful for membership sites with a few admin and moderators. This plugin allows you to add notes to the dashboard that will only be seen by members of specific roles. So for example it could be used to send a general note to all admin, and they’d see it as soon as they visited the dashboard.

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LH Logged In Post Status is a WordPress plugin that adds a new post status of “Logged In” to the available status options in the Publish dialogue box. What this means is that posts can be published only to logged in users, which is an option that would enhance the privacy options available for post content.

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This is a simple plugin which allows the BuddyPress Admin to enable blog post updates to be advertised in the BuddyPress Activity stream. By default, notifications to the Activity stream only happen on new post creation, if the post is then updated later, there is no activity update and your sites users will not be informed of the changes. This can be discouraging to your authors looking to inform site members of changes to published posts. BP Add Post Updates to Activity fixes this.

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