Best open source social networking platform

I’ve been a fan of Elgg, the open source social networking platform, since I first saw it. Not only do I like the technology but also its underlying framework of user-centricty (which also means learner-centric). I came across Elgg while working on a project to support several professional communities of practice working in a health care region. We had tried some wikis and CMS’s but when we found Elgg (version 0.2 I believe) we finally had something that met most of our needs.

Advance four years and here’s what R/WW has to say in an interview with Dave Tosh, one of Elgg’s founders:

To that end, Elgg can help form the basis of a new generation of social networks. But their platform goes beyond just delivering a solution for the next web 2.0 hangout or social site, although that it a popular use for their software. The Enterprise 2.0 movement is also aided by Elgg as companies wanting to build and customize their own intranet-based social networks have begun to adopt the platform as well.

Dave explains why someone should consider Elgg:

I think there are three main reasons: simplicity, extensibility and openness. The basic version of Elgg is deliberately very simple and clean. Our architecture allows you to easily extend Elgg’s functionality to meet your specific requirements. [and for geeks] Lastly, we fully embrace open standards such as OpenDD, FOAF, RSS, Open Social and OpenID, allowing you to interact with other applications.

I’m very happy to see Elgg mature and continue to remain open in order to provide us with tools that don’t lock us in. As good as a service like Ning may be, you’re locked into their platform.

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