Social Network built on WordPress

(Via Photo Matt)

Andy Peatling at Blaze New Media posted about a recent project: Chickspeak, a social network for female college students.

In their words, it’s is “an organization for young women created to inspire big dreams, strong values and success in the world”:

Our website exists to be the most entertaining and engaging reflection of women’s life in college, while also providing the support and information necessary to stay healthy, grounded and achieve great heights while in school and well after graduation. We are your voice- your interests and passions, your unique journey and experiences. Updated daily articles are written by women currently in college and cover everything from health and beauty, to relationships, travel, entertainment and much more. We also feature guest writers and columnists who are recognized experts in their fields and who act as advisors to our members. Members can post comments on articles and build relationships with other members and the ChickSpeak Team through forums, personal blogs and private messaging. We are an evolving concept and welcome any woman who’s excited about this to get involved!

What’s most interesting about it for me (not being a femail college student) is how it was built – leveraging WordPress MU as the core, changing the theme to de-emphasize the “blog” functionality and bring member profiles front and center.

From Andy’s blog post:

To achieve the desired change it was down to making a new WordPress theme. The theme would have exactly the same look and feel as the core site – making it look like the new member home page was still part of the core site itself.

Within the theme, I removed the code that usually makes the blog posts front and center, and changed it to the code that outputs the users profile. The blog code was moved to the sidebar so it could still be accessed as the members “journal” feature.

Finally, the code to output the users new private messages was added to the sidebar, as well as some code to output polls, photos and other smaller bits and bobs.

The project also incorporates BBPress for forums / discussions, has links into myspace and flickr, and so on, as you might expect from a social network circa 2007. (The facebook app can’t be far behind, if they don’t have one already.)