BuddyPress frees social networking

I’m a big fan of WordPress. It runs this blog, millions of other private blogs, and hundreds of thousands of blogs at WordPress.com. It’s a great architecture for developing online tools and the community is one of the best around. Matt Mullenweg (lead developer of WordPress and founder of Automattic) announced today that Automattic has taken BuddyPress under its giant wing today to nurture the project into full bloom. BuddyPress is a social network based on WPMU, the framework behind WordPress.com. It will be a social network that will connect me right where I am (this blog). And it will be FOSS that anyone can use, improve, and even create plug-ins for.

The important part of this is something I’ve felt for a long time. No offense to users of Facebook, MySpace or what-have-you, but I think this quote sums it up very nicely:

I am tired of data silos. I am tired of trying to keep up with every new site that comes along. I am tired of someone else owning my place on the internet. This is my place. This blog is me. Anyone who reads this I am sure will think I am strange that I mix my personal thoughts in with my programming frustrations. I don’t care. I write this for me because I own these bits and by hell they will do my bidding. –Justin Ball

I also enjoyed this Q & A on Techcrunch:

I asked Mullenweg if the world really needs another social network. His response:

The world doesn’t need another social network, it needs a thousand networks that let you own your data and interconnect using open standards. We invest countless hours giving our data to networks like MySpace, essentially sharecropping on their land for the privilege of being able to connect to our friends. It’s our friends, our time, our connections, our data — it should be our software.

I think only an Open Source solution can do that.

I can’t wait to see how this shapes up over the course of the next few weeks/months/years.

Joining the Facebook

After holding out for about 5 years, I finally joined the infamous Facebook over winter break. Although my 2 cousins and sister helped me set up an account, I made the conscious decision to join a few weeks earlier but never got around to it due to finals. My decision to join was definitely not made out of any enthusiasm to their service. Rather I started feeling like I was socially isolating myself from my peers in school, and this is something I want to change. If you’re reading this, feel free to add me as a friend.

I still don’t think I’ll use it too much, but at least I’ve joined, which is half the battle. One thing I have found is a nifty little application called Wordbook, which allows you to add new posts at this blog to my Facebook feed. This will hopefully bring some new blog traffic for me and get some of the people stuck in Facebook out into the real web. Anyways, a more thorough post (rant) of my thoughts on social networks like Facebook and why it took me so long to join is forthcoming.