by December 13, 2010 0 comments



The basic problem with using most public social networks for employee networking is that the organization does not have full control over the data or messages being exchanged. Also, the network is not tailor made for employees and is susceptible to change by the parent organization. In that case, employees or even the organization cannot do any thing to retain its likes and dislikes. Basically, the company employees are bound to whatever is being provided to them. Understanding this basic problem has led to development of privately owned social networking platforms.

Just like social networking tools like Yammer, Ning and Snapville, there are a slew of Open Source network packages available. These Open Source software need to be deployed by the company on their own servers and customized to meet requirements. These packages act as pre-fabricated templates and developers can work on them to provide the company with the necessary interface and functionality. Developers can easily manipulate and implement the functionality provided by these tools.

Full blown social networks can be created by the company personnel out of these packages. The advantage achieved out of using these packages is the customization and control that they provide to the manager of these networks.

The required functionality can be added or removed as per choice. While most packages manage to provide similar end functionality to users, the basic difference amongst them arises due to the platform on which they are developed. Since some degree of customization is required to get them up and running, the organization may choose the package which its developers or IT team is happy to deploy and manage. Hardware and software requirements, ease of deployment and manageability thus tend to be the reason of choice for some of these packages.

Here we provide a roundup of some of the popular Open Source social networking packages:

Elgg

Elgg is an Open Source social networking framework that provides the functionality to create fully-featured social networking websites. It allows users to collaborate, share and communicate with other users. Elgg comes with plugins like blogs, bookmarking, tagging, message board, activity tracking, notifications, etc. It provides file sharing features, whereby users can upload files and share them across other users on board. Elgg can not only be used as an internal social networking site for enterprise usage, but can also be used by companies with e-commerce websites. Elgg offers blogs, networking, community, collection of news using feeds aggregation and file sharing features. Elgg operates on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP) environment and it is easy to install and configure.

Learn how to use Elgg at http://pcquest.ciol.com/content/enterprise/2009/109050102.asp.

XOOPS with Yogurt module

XOOPS (eXensible Object Oriented Portal System), is a PHP based CMS solution that can serve as a Web framework for building dynamic community websites or intra-company portals having features like web logs, news, forums etc. XOOPS is a well-known Open Source CMS that also allows you to build a social network through its Yogurt module. The Yogurt module of XOOPS has features that allow users to have a personal album of pictures, videos from YouTube, friends list, a public wall of messages (scrapbook), and form communities. It also has privacy features where users can configure who can see what. Learn how to deploy XOOPS with Yogurt for your enterprise at http://pcquest.ciol.com/content/handson/2010/110020103.asp.

Mahara

Unlike the rest of the social networking software this is meant for general use, Mahara is designed as a platform to allow its users to demonstrate their life-long learning, skills and development to selected audiences. With Mahara, you can create an e-Portfolio platform and set up an online learner community. Features in the software include blogs, resume builder, file manager, institution details and the social networking part, where you can add and maintain your list of friends. Mahara runs on LAMP, although Postgres is preferred over MySQL.

LOVD by Less

Lovd by Less is an Open Source social networking platform built on Ruby on Rails. It contains almost all standard features that other, more popular social networking platforms, contain. Some features of Lovd by Less include blogs, a photo gallery with captions, site search for friends, activity updates and user-to-user messaging. Other things that are built within the software include Flickr and YouTube integration.One good feature is that it is easy to use and contains most applications that you need. For those who prefer Ruby on Rails rather than PHP, this is a good alternative.

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