Myspace in a box: make your own social network

Marc Canter complains that People Aggregator was left out of a post on white label social networks. Complain he might, but here’s a couple of reasons why Elgg is better than any of the systems mentioned in the post, as well as People Aggregator:

Elgg is free.

Free as in beer, free as in speech. You can download the software, install it on a web server, and you’re done. You don’t even need to tell us you’ve done it (although it’d be helpful if you did). Want to create your own features, or hack the ones that currently exist? You can. Don’t have a web server, or web server experience? That’s okay – our hosted social networking solution is free, too.

It’s also licensed under the GPL, marking it out as a fully open source software project. The code is available, and has been scrutinised by an ever-growing community of users.

Elgg is cutting edge.

We’ve had podcasting support since version 0.2. Elgg contains all those web 2.0 features you need, and allows you to bring in your content from other applications. Want to post a photo from Flickr or write a post in Google Docs? No problem. Want to keep a WordPress blog and import the content automatically? Be my guest. RSS and XML-RPC are a given, with the Atom API to follow. We’ve been around for three years and counting, and all this was part of the plan; we aren’t bandwagon-jumpers.

Upcoming features include a revised profile with widgets that will let you bring in content from just about anywhere, and interact with people in new ways.

Elgg is extensible.

We just had a two-day meeting session where we laid out the internal API structure that will allow plugin authors to have unprecedented access to system functions, quickly and easily. This will be documented in the new support community shortly. It’s deliberately been written in PHP in order to make it easy to mess around with by anyone with coding experience, and we’re working hard to simplify the code to make this even easier. Because the code can be tinkered with so freely, it’s easy to add social networking as a feature to your other web applications.

The CSS templating system is now better than ever, allowing designers to come up with ever more interesting skins for your account. Again, the support community will have a space to share these, and Elgg 0.7 will make uploading new site-wide templates a snap.

Elgg is international.

Eighteen languages and counting. Want it in a language we don’t currently support? Look over here!

Elgg is private. Or public. Or anything in-between.

Everything in Elgg is access restricted. Want your friends to know your mailing address, but everyone to see your biography? You can. Want to make a blog post containing files, but only let certain people see either? Not an issue. In an Elgg social network, privacy is solved.

Not to mention antivirus, anti-spam plugins, and more.

You can download the Elgg software here, or head over to Elgg Spaces to create your own social network instantly.

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