BuddyPress use at CUNY – WordCamp 2010

by Bradley Jobling on November 7, 2010

BuddyPress LogoCUNY wanted to create a Web site for the 23 different campuses could communicate. There were roles across the campuses that are similar, yet, the people within these positions would normally not be aware of each other. After some research, CUNY’s Matthew Gold came up with BuddyPress.

BuddyPress is a plug-in for WordPress that has social network-like features such as profiles, wall posts, groups, discussion boards and community blogs. BuddyPress is not as open as Facebook and within BuddyPress there is more control over the information that is conveyed to others. These features make it more usable as a social corporate network.

Field options within profiles can be fill-in or pre-defined. Activity in BuddyPress profiles are sent via email and RSS.

Groups within BuddyPress can be public, private or hidden. Group administrators can send announcements to all members and have access to a community blog. Discussion forums and wikis are available that can be moderated and controlled by the group administrator. A new and upcoming option for BuddyPress is a group documents section which will probably operate similar to Google Docs. At this time sub-groups within groups cannot be created.

BuddyPress can be added on to an existing site, but it’s probably better to plan for it at the original site design. Navigation can be carried over the Buddy Press options to make it look like the WordPress and BuddyPress packages are all-in-one. It’s probably easier to design for this when the site is first set up.
BuddyPress widgets can be added to display information such as most popular posts, post archives, and newest activities. Not all of the BuddyPress tools and options have to be used in an install.

The WordPress user accounts are tied into the BuddyPress profiles. So if someone is an administrator or author within the blog, WordPress writing activity will show up on the BuddyPress list of activities.
My only concern with this was that another social network for work would create social media fatigue or overload, Yet, the CUNY employees seemed to be able to adapt and use their social memberships for the differing work or recreational purposes established for each one.

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