WordCamp Philly: Adding a social ‘stache

Doug Stewart wrapped things up before lunch at WordCamp Philly talking about bbPress, BuddyPress, and more. He also wins the award for first WordCamp talk to pass out handouts with mustache stencils on them while simultaneously playing some techno on the speakers. :)

As Doug put it, “Like a good mustache, bbPress and BuddyPress can add that social element to your site.” Social tools like bbPress and BuddyPress can increase user engagement, encourage contribution, and lower the barrier to entry for creating content. Most of all, they add a community around your site and your content.

bbPress is WordPress-native forum software. With version 2.0 it’s now a plugin that, once activated, adds forums to your site. Best of all, it’s dead-simple to install. bbPress is the software that powers the WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Dropbox, and Stephen Fry’s forums. There’s lots of ways to extend it and create support forums, selectively use it in lieu of comments, send email notifications, and more.

BuddyPress gives you social networking in a box. Through friends, private messaging, activity streams, groups, and forums you can really set up anything you need. It’s fantastic for internal corporate networks where you want some of the social features without all of the risk inherent in more public networks. One thing you want to do with BuddyPress is install the theme compatibility check plugin.

With all the power that BuddyPress offers you may want to progressively introduce features to the community. You may not want to introduce them to all the features at once, it can be a bit overwhelming.

For those behind-the-firewall situations BuddyPress allows for things like document collaboration, classified ads, and courseware. These can improve greatly upon more traditional tools for company intranets.

Doug’s going to post all of his slides on Slideshare later so there’s lots of links in those worth checking out.