Social networking websites have been around since the mid-90’s, but in recent years, social networking has exploded across the web. The Web 2.0 initiative has made modern social networking sites increasingly popular and easier to use than the initial wave of sites that launched in the 90’s.  It’s super important these days to have a presence on social media sites. Did you know that Facebook in 2009 had more than 300 million users, and roughly half of these logged in every day? I can also tell you that twitter attracted more than 22 million unique visitors every month and YouTube had more than 100 million users in the US alone. Do you think these numbers will grow in 2010? There may still be niches waiting for someone to launch a dedicated service – in theory this could be you. In fact it is not that hard any more as you will see in this article.

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A social networking service focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user, his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, share ideas, discuss shared concerns etc. The value can be huge for the involved individuals which of course is why so many people have adopted social networking.

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Lets take a look at how easy it has become to create a new social networking service. As the area have matured we have seen fully functional platforms show up to make it a no-brainer to get started. In this article you will find 25 excellent platforms to pick from.

1. SocialEngine

SocialEngine is community software that you install on your own web server, giving you 100% ownership of your social network’s user data and content. You can use SocialEngine to create various kinds of communities with different frameworks, like Twitter-style followers or Facebook-style friendships. SocialEngine also has an active development community with hundreds of addons, templates, and themes. The software also includes a drag-and-drop CMS for easily customizing your community’s layout.

2. SourceForge

Sorceforge is the world’s largest opensource software development web site. We provide free services that help people build cool stuff and share it with a global audience.

3. Ning

Ning is the leading online platform for the world’s organizers, activists and influencers to create their own social network. Design a custom social experience in under 30 seconds giving you the power to mobilize, organize and inspire.

4. Elgg is where you can get a network up and running in minutes. With support from the Elgg team and plenty of customization options, you can make it exactly how you want it

5. Xoops with Yogurt Extension

XOOPS is a web application platform written in PHP for the MySQL database. Its object orientation makes it an ideal tool for developing small or large community websites, intra company and corporate portals, weblogs and much more.

6. BuddyPress

BuddyPress is completely free and open source. Unlike hosted services, BuddyPress allows you to stay in control of your site and create a totally customized, unique experience

7. KicKapps

KickApps provides solutions that enable the creation and management of next generation web experiences. These solutions are social, interactive, dynamic, distributed, and data-informed. KickApps solutions consist of a suite of hosted media applications and services that are used by some of the world’s largest websites and brands to grow & engage their online audiences and foster deeper relationships with customers.

8. Mahara

Mahara is an open source e-portfolio system with a flexible display framework. Mahara, meaning ‘think’ or ‘thought’ in Te Reo M?ori, is user centred environment with a permissions framework that enables different views of an e-portfolio to be easily managed. Mahara also features a weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities.

9. Insoshi

It’s a place to keep tabs on your favorite developers and projects, easily contribute fixes and new features, and visualize what’s going on inside your codebase!

10. Lovd By Less

Built with Ruby on Rails, Lovd is a social networking solution that has everything you need to build your community

11. Anahita Social Engine

Anahita Social Engine  is an open source platform, framework, and design methodology for building all kinds of social networking applications and services using an organic Nodes-Graphs-Stories architecture. Anahita is available under the Gpl2 License

12. MixxT

The mixxt GmbH is a provider of innovative Social Network and Online Community solutions and operator of the European Community platform mixxt. mixxt lets everyone create an individual Community and helps making communication and organization easier and more efficient. Community hosts can directly get in contact with their customers or target group and present themselves as interactive and innovative, without renouncing privacy, structure or an own design

13. AroundMe

Using AROUNDMe collaboration server you can create multiple collaborative group, webspace, community or social networking websites. Each group can create a multiple page collaborative web site. They get social tools such as a guestbook (a wall), a group blog, a forum and a wiki which they can drop into web pages. Each group is fully customisable using xHTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP. Groups can be private or public.

14. JomSocial

Customize profile fields.
Create groups. Invite friends.
Send private messages. Comment on walls.
Share photos. Follow updates via activity stream.
Integrate 3rd party components with our robust API.

15. Yacs

Simple, open source  social network.

16. Flock

Flock is a browser. The people at Flock are committed to building a browser unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before – because they start by focusing on user needs. They take pride in solving for common behaviors on the Web that seem clunky today, and will seem ridiculous tomorrow.

17. GroupSite

Formerly CollectiveX, is a platform that empowers the creation of social websites called Groupsites. Groupsites are collaboration communities that enable groups to communicate, share and network to make things happen. They do this by combining the most useful (but not all) features of online groups and listservs (like Yahoo! Groups), collaboration software (like Sharepoint) and Social Networks (like Facebook and Linkedin).

18. Context Optional

Social marketing software and services for global brands and advertising agencies.

19. Going On

GoingOn provides a fast and cost effective way to build vibrant online communities. Leveraging the best of today’s social web, GoingOn Community Platform enables academic institutions to deliver new, more engaging models of knowledge management and social collaboration across their campuses, and to their broad network of constituents. The results include increased student engagement, improved faculty product-ivity, enhanced online learning and broader marketing outreach.

20. Demand Media

21. Pligg

Pligg is an open source CMS (Content Management System) that you can download and use for free. Pligg CMS provides social networking software that encourages visitors to register on your website so that they can submit content and connect with other users. Our software creates websites where stories are created and voted on by members, not website editors. Use Pligg content management system to start your own social networking community in minutes.

22. HayStack

Cerado is the provider of the Haystack social networking platform. Cerado Ventana connects multiple social networks, web sites, and mobile web services. It is a web-based service that connects people, information and commerce via an interface that is optimized for the iPhone.
23. People Aggregator

Broadband Mechanics’ PeopleAggregator is an experiment in building social networks around open standards so that people can easily move between networks, whether or not those networks are run by the same owners or contain the same features. If the social networking world were run the way Broadband Mechanics’ CEO Marc Canter envisions, Facebook users would easily be able to carry their identity (including all the information they owned on Facebook) over to MySpace, Orkut, and Friendster. Then any changes to their identities on those networks could be brought back over to Facebook.

24. One Site



ONEsite, a subsidiary of the hosting company, provides a hybrid social networking / CMS platform. The ONEsite Platform includes custom profiles, user generated content (blogs, photos, videos, forums), activity streams, groups, calendars and a points and rewards system.

ONEsite includes hosted Software as a Service components as well as APIs and Widgets that can be integrated into external systems.

ONEsite provides in-house professional services for the implementation and integration of its platforms. The company also includes an in-house technical support and moderation group

25. Kootali

Kootali is a customized and fully featured social networking script, similar to large sites like facebook, that lets you create a standalone social community site for allowing users to communicate and connect. It could be romantic, personal, professional or anything else. It gives your users the perfect environment to socialize and network with their online pals.

With the awesome features of Kootali, users can easily form a closed network under any category like work place, school, college and many more. Your users can network on the site to make, develop, and keep in touch with friends who focus on politics, religion, pets, sports and so forth.

Kootali allows your users to take an active role in building and contributing to the site content. Members can take part in discussions on hot topics, share articles, photos, and videos. Sharing snapshots and videos is a much better way to express individualism and uniqueness.

26. Chameleon

Try to look for your friends on the Earth Map, chat in the Video Chat. You will see that it is a different system, different from all the rest clone scripts out there, and if you do not want to make clone sites Chameleon is for you!

Other relevant resources

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Author : Dustin Betonio


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