Last May, I read about BuddyPress, a new plugin from Automattic, which also produces WordPress, that would bring social networking to WordPress blogs. I immediately began dreaming up ways to create a community of my music’s fans. Then I read up on it. It required WordPress MU, which allows you to create blog networks (like for a school, company, etc). Since I wasn’t running MU, and didn’t know any bands that were, I forgot about it.
BuddyPress 1.2 was released Friday, February 26th and can be used with a single WordPress install, so we can all have social networks related to our band blogs! However, I’m a little hesitant: do our fans need yet another social network? While I’m sure there are bands that could easily support their own (think: Phish, Dave Matthews Band, or KISS to name a few), most of us don’t have enough fans to justify it. We’re better off with sticking to Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter because our fans are already on those sites.
Before you think I’m just being pessimistic, I’m in favor of using this plugin. I just wonder how effective it will be for most artists. If you have a community created around your band already, this will work well to help you unite them. For the rest of us, it could assist you in building that community around your music. Either way, this is a good step for this plugin and I hope to start working it into some artist blogs to see if it’s helpful or just another useless social network. Once I have some first-hand knowledge, I’ll write some more (but I’ll bet you see this plugin in the next version of my book).