SocialEngine Review – Creating a Social Network Made Easy?

Having recently taken a look at the SocialEngine Ning archive import tool, and also having recently worked with a client who wanted to create their own social network for pet owners in California, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the SocialEngine reviews that would best give potential community developers a good insight of what to expect from the platform.

One really great and recent review over at ipragmatech interviews a couple of community owners who made the switch from Ning to SocialEngine. Socialengine vs Ning – Community Owners Interview goes to great lengths to find out how the two platforms compare, which is useful for anyone coming from the hosted environment over to the self-hosted environment. Favourable comments are made about SocialEngine, especially when talking about data ownership and scaleability, but it’s also made a point of that running a large network on your own servers can be expensive and time-consuming. Certainly, though, data and code ownership are worth considering for the two SocialEngine site owners that are interviewed in the article, and both loved the add-ons and plugins that were available to give their community the added functionality that gave them a viable business proposition as well as a nice looking social network.

Over at CMS Critic, they love the new functionality rolled out in 2015 and give SocialEngine credit for their public roadmap. There have been a host of positive improvements to the platform over the last 6 months, including activity feed improvements, a new default responsive theme, SEO-friendly content URLs with slugs, and much more. There’s also positive news for SocialEngine owners looking to integrate with other social channels, as the platform has been tweaked to align with new Facebook and YouTube APIs which were recently introduced.

This thread over on ScriptTechs is not overly favourable to either PHPFox or SocialEngine but it’s worth trawling through it, and past the trolling, just to get a glimpse into the variety of experiences that some of the community owners have had. Self-hosting is never easy, and will always throw up more challenges than going with a hosted solution, and if anything what this post proves is that there is no easy way to “creating your own Facebook” – the consensus being that “a serious start-up social network” would not use either platform to get their project off the ground.

Another great resource for wannabe SocialEngine community owners is Ex Creators, a website of Ning refugees discussing the various alternatives to the once great social network builder created by Marc Andreesen. These guys are passionate about their social networks and communities and it’s worth a visit just for the sheer spectrum of opinions, experiences and niches.

What are your experiences with SocialEngine? Let us know in the comments.

Richard Pettet
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Richard Pettet

I'm a professional website designer who specialises in Social Network and community website build and design work. Expert with Ning and BuddyPress.
Richard Pettet
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  • troydbertrand

    “Self-hosting is never easy, and will always throw up more challenges than going with a hosted solution”

    I’m not sure I agree with this entire statement. Self hosting definitely presents more challenges than fully hosted solutions, however, I’ve gotten a lot positive feedback from clients who were surprised by how easy (relatively speaking) self hosting turned out to be.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about self hosted platforms and that tend to scare people away. Most of my clients were under the impression that they needed extensive knowledge of severs and coding to successfully run their communities in a self hosted environment. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is helpful if you have some knowledge of severs and coding but it’s not necessary. You’ll hardly ever need to go back to your sever once the community software has been installed. There will be sever issues as with any website (fully hosted included) but you won’t be stuck trying to resolve these issues on your own.

    Self hosted isn’t for everyone but it’s really not as bad as most people think it is.

    Best Regards
    TDB

    • RichardPettet

      Hi Troy, I agree but stand by the statement that “Self-hosting is never easy, and will always throw up more challenges than going with a hosted solution”. Just talking from experience and anecdotal evidence from forums like your own and the ScriptTech forum. It’s definitely not as bad as people think but it does have its challenges.

      Cheers for commenting! Always useful insight.
      Rich