SocialEngine Blog

SocialEngine is the best way to create a unique community website. Let your friends, fans or customers geek out about anything you want.

Migrate your Ning 2.0 Community to SocialEngine PHP

Switch to SocialEngine from Ning 2.0

When you host your community with SocialEngine, you gain access to a powerful platform with awesome features and extensive customizability. You’ll be amazed at the amount of things you can accomplish with minimal effort and at a much lower cost. Want to see for yourself? Take advantage of our new and improved Ning to SocialEngine PHP Importer Tool!

What gets imported?

Our Ning Importer will transfer the following content to SocialEngine PHP:

  • Activities
  • Albums, photos and comments
  • Announcements
  • Blogs and comments
  • Core Content
  • Core Pages
  • Events (membership, comments)
  • Forum posts, signatures and topics
  • Groups (membership, comments, posts, topics)
  • Music
  • Users (comments, fields, migration)
  • Videos and comments

How do I do it?

There are several resources to help guide you through the process. Check out our Ning Importer article, or refer to this video tutorial created by Ex Creators the Ning experts who help SocialEngine work on the import script.

Contact us at support@socialengine.com and we can help connect you with SocialEngine experts with Ning migration experience.

Why Migrate to SocialEngine?

SocialEngine offers the best in stable, functional, and up-to-date social networking software. We dedicate significant time and resources toward making improvements and upgrades. Also, we’ve revamped our approach to the customer experience. We’re making it a top priority to ensure you receive quality support and your needs are addressed.

With this Ning import tool, your community will transfer seamlessly and you can pick up right where you left off. You will be quickly making lots of new and exciting improvements to your site. Your members will thank you, and you’ll wish you had done it sooner!

Purchase and download SocialEngine PHP Today.

Posted in Tips and Tutorials | 1 Comment

The Undeniable Proof of Groups & Custom Social Networks

scientific_01

People naturally come together in groups for a variety of reasons. With the explosion of social media sites, people around the world are finding more and more reasons to form groups around a particular interest.

SCIENTIFIC PROOF

It’s long been known that people form groups. Last year, Kurt Gray of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and David Rand of Yale University teamed up with some other colleagues to put this notion to the test. The study’s results? Yep, people like to form groups. What they found was:

• People form groups of “us” and “them”

• When people have a reason to cooperate and do so, they become closer

• When there is no reason to cooperate, people drift apart

 

EVEN MORE PROOF

The University of California San Diego also studied this idea of grouping. Those results are the same as the study at UNC and Yale. This report says, “The way people share information is changing the way we communicate with our target audiences.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just the tip of social media iceberg; there are more applications out there and more to come, which means more ways for you to personally connect and engage with your constituents.”

 

MAKING CONNECTIONS

That line, “more to come” should be a wakeup call to people and brands trying to find a way to connect to other people who share the same:

• Ideas. Want to discuss black holes? NASA has discussion groups for that.

• Wants & Needs. AirBNB is making a fortune connecting people who travel with people who are willing to rent out a room in their home for a night or two.

• Hobbies & Activities. Like to crochet? Then Ravelry has a place for you.

 

YOU CAN REACH OUT

If you have an idea for a custom social network, we’re ready to listen. It doesn’t matter what your idea is or what your community is. There are other people out there, just like you, looking for a way to connect to like-minded people.

Send us a request at our Enterprise Request Form for us to help build your custom branded community.

 

Posted in Branded Community | Leave a comment

SocialEngine June 2015 Keeping it Rolling Update

We stepped up in June that’s for sure. I’d like to personally acknowledge the entire team’s hard work and efforts to drive this company into the future. We’re looking forward to strong second half of the year, one that will have a profound impact on the company.

finish strong

Here’s the June worked completed:

PHP

  • Released a new version (4.8.9) of SocialEngine PHP with a record number of fixes (complete change log) and we have Facebook and YouTube fully operational
  • As part of that release, but worthy of it’s own bullet point —  a best in business Ning 2.0 importer
  • Worked and continued polishing SocialEngine PHP 4.9 roadmap, a ton of exciting features are planned for both users and developers. Read about it in our blog post!

Brand

  • Successfully transitioned our internal email client to Mailchimp
  • Began branded communities content strategy
  • Worked on a new universal deployment system
  • As always, made a ton of progress on the new site

Cloud

  • Cloud has gotten very stable – our systems record 0 issues
  • Worked and continued polishing comment editing and attachments (its coming soon!)
  • Switched to monthly billing for cloud

Our Plan for July

Cloud

  • Release comment editing and comment attachments for cloud
  • Add intercom.io to cloud

PHP

Brand

  • Content and email marketing will continue
  • New website beta launch

If you are interested in building a custom branded community on SocialEngine or seeking Enterprise services please drop us a line at Enterprise Request Form.

With appreciation,

James

Posted in Company Updates | 3 Comments

Introducing: the SE PHP 4.9.0 Roadmap!

Socialengine PHP 4.9 Roadmap is Here

 

We’re happy to announce that the roadmap for SocialEngine PHP v4.9.0 is now publicly available.  Here is what we intend to include in v4.9.0.

Activity Feed Improvements

You asked, we answered. We’re bringing lots of new changes and features to make the Activity Feed even better.

One big way we’re doing this is with the inclusion of iframely (#141). Iframely is a simple API that embeds content into your feed, making it easy to display content in an engaging way just by scraping a web link. SocialEngine will be hosting an iframely API for free (for valid SE licenses), but you will also have the option to go directly through iframely (or host it on your own server using the open source version).

Here’s another thing we’re doing: we’re adding the ability to upload multiple photos (#142). You’ll be able to select multiple photos in the Post Something section and upload them all at once, allowing you to share your favorite moments and photos more efficiently and effectively.

How many times have you posted a status, only to realize you made a typo and have to delete and post again? That frustration is a thing of the past, because we’re bringing you an edit button for your status posts (#143)! Now you can fix your typos and include that word you forgot by simply clicking on the Edit link under your status.

There are several more improvements coming, be sure to check them out and leave your feedback!

Brand New Responsive Theme

We want to create a new default responsive theme so that your users can easily browse content in an optimal viewing experience across multiple devices with varied screen sizes. This will be the default theme when you’ve installed a fresh copy of SocialEngine. It will be compatible with all core modules and will ensure an excellent browsing experience for everyone. Admins will also be able to customize the theme’s color to provide for individuality and creativity (#150).

Licensing and Marketplace

We think it’s important to protect the hard work of our third party experts, so we will be making improvements to the licensing system. This will ensure better protection and more security for your product. It will also encourage more developers get involved with the SocialEngine platform with the full confidence that their work is protected and valued (#151).

We’ll also be adding tight integration with the marketplace, so you can install your plugins with the push of a button (#152).

The Rest

SEO friendly content URLs with Slugs

If you’ve been craving SEO-friendly, meaningful URLs that contain relevant keywords instead of random numbers and nonsense, then your wait is over! We’re going to implement SEO such that the content in all modules will have URLs with slugs at the end. Like this: http://example.com/groups/1/test-group instead of http://example.com/group/1/ (#149)

The No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA experience

Yes, that’s what Google calls its new reCAPTCHA. We’re going to provide you with this experience soon by upgrading to Google’s new reCAPTCHA v2.0 (#153).

There are many more improvements on the way, so please check them out and let us know what you think!

  • Ordering feeds based on popularity (#144)
  • Ajax-based status posting (#145)
  • New Activity Feed Items for likes on content (#146)
  • Improve the way description meta tag of Member profile Page is being set (#147)
  • Improve the order of meta title and description tags on all the pages (#148)
  • Sort Past Events in Reverse Chronological Order (#154)
  • Disable YouTube and Vimeo Upload Options (#155)
  • Make video thumbnail available for selection when a video profile page url is shared (#156)
  • Sort Plug­ins alphabetically (#157)
  • Animated GIF support (#165)
  • More organized Activity Feed Settings section (#158)
  • Ability to change position of Updates and search bar in mini menu (#159)
  • New widget: Column width modifier (#160)
  • New widget: Social Sharing buttons (#162)
  • Ability to set different titles of multiple HTML Blocks placed on a page (#161)
  • Better Social Login buttons on Login/signup page (#163)
  • Improvements in pagination (#164)

Please let us know your thoughts about these features. Feel free to post comments here and engage in the discussions for the features themselves. The more we know about your perspective on these features, the better we can prioritize our goals and methodologies.

Also, while we’d love to commit to every idea that we come across, they won’t all fit in 4.9. So if you have a feature in mind that’s not on this roadmap, don’t worry! There’s always 4.10 and beyond.

You can also contact us if you have any specific questions.

We look forward to delivering an even more substantial version of SocialEngine PHP. Thanks for your continued support.

Posted in Developer Notes | 27 Comments

June Community Roundup

Hey everyone! June is over so its time to take a look at what has been happening this month with the SocialEngine community!

New Add-ons and Updates:

Advanced Comments – Advanced Comments plugin is a great extension for Hire-Experts’ Wall plugin. This plugin allows adding the improved version of comments into your site feed. Advanced comments is a great way to increase activity on your site.

Advanced Photos & Albums – Advanced Photos & Albums Plugin is the best plugin with a list of amazing tools and options for viewing Albums and Photos in various different views – Grid view, Advanced Grid View, Slideshows, Masonry view. It is 100% responsive.

7975 continue reading »

Posted in Add-On Highlights, Client Spotlight, Developer Spotlight | Leave a comment

Branded Communities and Customer Connections

Branded Communities and Customer Connections

People have so many ways to access information making it excruciatingly difficult for a brand to hold anyone’s attention.

 

Which means connecting with people where it matters most is the real balance in a brand’s effort to stay authentic, but remain in front and relevant to the those who matter.

Companies using branded communities have an opportunity to create a captive, enthusiastic audience for their product or service, but more importantly a useful reliable source of information for their fans. These communities build upon themselves, creating user-generated marketing and testimonials which increases brand loyalty and helps revenue grow rapidly.


Branded Communities Benefits:

  • Connect consumers to consumers
  • Develop a loyal consumer base

Many brands used Facebook to create their fan communities and had great success messaging and engaging with fans. Now, Facebook limits a brand’s reach to where only one to three precent of the followers ever see a post. Unfortunately many brands spent large sums of money and effort to build their followers only to get the rug pulled out from underneath them.

There have been few options for brands to own their own community because it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming.  However, SocialEngine has turned that problem on its head.  Today, creating a branded community is simple.


SocialEngine Offers:

  • An out-of-the-box branded community solution
  • Fully responsive themes make it easy for users to engage

With SocialEngine Cloud we have eliminated all coding and hosting headaches.

For brands seeking a highly customized community or unique features, SocialEngine’s Enterprise customers get direct access to SocialEngine developers for beautiful community pages to meet a brand’s needs.


Customizable Interface Reflects Your Brand and Builds Owned Community

  • Social platform uniquely suited to your style and message

Of course, brands require their own community sites to reflect the spirit and ethos of the product or service they are representing.  For example, a publishing company might include photos of fan art, discussion threads about characters and perhaps a spoiler section for fans to speculate.

There are also lots of opportunities to highlight new product ideas with the community, or provide a means to purchase exclusive content.

Overall, branded communities are a great way to connect and grow a user base.  SocialEngine’s easy to use platform help any company, no matter the size or resources, create a beautiful, powerful community.

 

 

Posted in Branded Community | Leave a comment

Interest-Based Communities vs Social Networks = TKO

Interest-Based Communities vs Social Networks = TKO

Life is best spent with those you love and those who share your same interests and passions. The funny thing is, sometimes those two crowds are substantially different.

Where Social Communities Fall Short

Social-based communities have limitations. For the most part, individuals in these online communities find themselves connected to people with whom they are already acquainted, such as family, loved ones, school or work friends. Much of what they hear, say and do is conducted in an echo chamber of similar political views or endless photos of one’s life. While social communities are a great way to keep up with friends and loved ones, they do not necessarily give you the opportunity to explore topics of interest to you.

Interest-Based Communities Support and Develop Members

While still being able to connect with those around them, interest-based community members share their passions, interests and desires with a group of like-minded individuals.

One of the best things about interest-based communities is that it gives individuals the opportunity to:

  • develop skills
  • pursue hobbies
  • explore talents
  • gain knowledge
  • receive support

…in a helpful and welcoming environment.

The amount of engagement among members of a social-based community is consistent, but usually does not drive any additional thoughts or learnings.

Typically, the most a member might engage is through a like (or, if one is so lucky, a comment on a photo).

However, with interest-based communities, more time is spent looking for deeper knowledge and understanding. It is a way to explore and converse new ideas not available before the person became involved with the interest-based community.

New Bonds Amongst Members

With interest-based communities, the choice to spend time interacting and giving back is often an easy one, because when individuals enjoy the same subjects–or are being challenged by the same life circumstances–it creates a bond worth their effort.

Not only does this help everyone to enjoy life or find solutions to problems, but it also develops unique relationships among the people within their interest-based community, no matter of geographic location.

Posted in Branded Community | Leave a comment

SocialEngine PHP version 4.8.9 is here!

4.8.9 image

We’re pleased to announce that the highly anticipated SocialEngine PHP 4.8.9 is released! We’ve made many important changes, including a fix for the issues caused by Facebook and YouTube API updates. If you’ve been waiting for a better import tool to migrate your website from Ning to SocialEngine PHP, the time is now! We’ve updated our Ning importer and now it’s better than ever.

Where to get the update: You can download this latest version of SocialEngine PHP from your client area.

Caution! Please be sure to do a complete backup of your files and your database before upgrading to 4.8.9. If you’re not comfortable doing the backup and installation yourself, we’d be happy to help you out! Simply go to the client store and purchase the upgrade service, and we’ll take care of it.

Changes: Below is a list of all the fixes included in 4.8.9:

  • Fixed compatibility issue in Videos that appeared because of YouTube depreciating their API v2 and switching to v3. Note: After upgrading your website to 4.8.9, you will need to enter a new API key for Google Services, accessible in the Admin > Plugins > Videos > Global Settings section of your site. To learn how to create that key with correct permissions, read our Configuring Admin Panel for YouTube Update article. Fixes #44
  • Fixed a compatibility issue with Facebook integration that appeared because of Facebook deprecating their “offline_access” permission. For more details, check out this article on the Facebook integration fix. Fixes #42
  • Updated our Ning importer tool, fixing multiple issues and enabling import of pages. Read our Ning Archiver Importer article for more details on this.
  • Fixed a log error that appeared when Albums section was being accessed by non-logged users.
  • Fixed issue with “Translation Performance” setting not getting saved in a few cases. Fixes #45
  • Fixed a javascript error appearing after Fancy Menu widget was placed on website.
  • Fixed an issue where empty Music Playlists were not being displayed in “Manage Playlists” section of administration.
  • Fixed issue where incorrect timezone was being displayed in the email that goes to site admin on every new signup.
  • Fixed the order of member names that was being displayed in pop-up clicking on or showing list of members’ name in alphabetical order for inviting to join group.
  • Fixed issue with “Name” field of signup form that was conflicting with another form’s Name field when existing on same page.
  • Fixed issue with newly registered members getting two emails: “Welcome email” and “Welcome email with Password”.
  • Fixed an issue where search engines were indexing the website in maintenance mode. Fixes #18
  • Fixed issue with search corresponding to custom profile question “Country” that was not working on “Manage Classifieds” page.
  • Fixed a javascript error that was appearing on a few multilingual websites on photo selection page during signup.
  • Fixed an issue where a few activity feeds on the “Member Home Page” sometimes appeared missing.
  • Fixed issue with “Allow Messaging” setting that was not working fine in mobile site.
  • Fixed issue with albums link that was redirecting to a “Page Not Found” message. This appears when a photo received in a message is viewed.
  • Fixed an issue where edited discussion posts in Events were displayed with HTML Tags. Fixes #48
  • Fixed issue where custom pages having hyphens (-) in their URLs were not working.
  • Increased the width of Layout Editor’s “Page Block Placement” area for better accessibility at admin panel.
  • Fixed an issue allowing multiple line breaks in comments. Fixes #40
  • Fixed an issue that caused photos to turn sideways when captured and uploaded from a few android and iOS devices.

Plugins: We’ve also upgraded Albums, Classifieds, Events, Groups, Mobile, Music and Videos plugins to 4.8.9.

Changelog: You can browse the complete changelog file for more details about the fixes implemented in this release.

Super sleuths: Six of those fixes were reported by our amazing community. You can always submit any feature requests or bug reports for SocialEngine PHP to our public bugs and suggestions tracker. Thanks for your continued support!

Contact: Please contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Posted in Release Notes | 26 Comments

May 2015 Keeping It Rolling Update

We couldn’t resist taking advantage of the beautiful weather on Mike’s birthday, so we had a successful disc golf outing. Play was so competitive, no one thought of snapping a photo. In the meantime enjoy a picture of a bunch of discs:

discgolfblog

Here’s what we focused on and accomplished in May:

SocialEngine Cloud

Cloud received over 10 updates this month. We have an internal versioning system that hit 10 releases for the first time! You can always view the entire list on the SocialEngine Founder’s Community. Here are a few highlights:

  • RSS updates
  • Searchable dropdowns if there are a lot of items
  • Facebook invites are back
  • YouTube link previews
  • Bandcamp scraping
  • Substantial amount of bug fixes
  • Switched to monthly billing instead of quarterly (active starting now)

SocialEngine PHP

Work on the 4.8.9 release was a focus for the month.

  • Finishing touches put on the roadmap
  • Conversations with PHPfox community of developers about an import script
  • Outlined and began work on fixing Ning importer thanks to feedback from Ning community

General

We’ve taken the first steps in organizing ourselves internally to create a Customer Success Team here at SocialEngine. Beyond customer and technical support, our Customer Success efforts will include developer relations, internal and external community participation, and client on-boarding support. In addition, this team will be creating and updating knowledge base content to make sure we keep our product documentation updated and relevant. Our intent is to provide a heightened level of personalization and interaction with our third-party developers as well as current and prospective clients.

  • Marcus has stepped into a role of Customer Success Manager
  • Starting to utilize a new marketing email provider, MailChimp
  • Cloud pricing changed from quarterly to monthly billing, making it easier financially for new customers to on-board

What’s Happening in June

  • PHP 4.8.9 release will include permanent fixes for Facebook, YouTube integration,  and an improved Ning importer
  • Release of the PHP product roadmap
  • 3rd Party developer to offer PHPfox importer
  • More knowledge base articles and developer outreach by Customer Success Team
  • Comment editing and comment attachments in Cloud

Thanks for your continued support of SocialEngine.

If you are interested in building a custom branded community, please contact us at enterprise@socialengine.com

With appreciation,

James

Posted in Company Updates | 1 Comment

Build Your Own Interest-Based Online Community

build-your-own-community

 

Forbes Magazine recently published an article titled, “Are Interest-Based Networks the Way of the Future?” Writer Drew Hendricks explored the idea that people naturally come together and prefer to be with others with whom they have something in common.

 

“Today, our tribes are often found online. These are the sites where we gather, share information, discuss topics of interest to us, and communicate with each other. Now, interest based networks are becoming increasingly popular. These are topic specific sites where people are able to communicate with a more targeted group of people,” he wrote.

That’s seen regularly in the major social media networks. People join groups, follow pages they like and share information about their likes with their friends.

 

INTEREST-BASED COMMUNITIES: THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Jay Jamison, writing in Tech Crunch, says social media giant Facebook set the stage for the next evolution of social media. He specifically points to “interest-based” social media. These sites allow people to set what they like first and find like-minded people. Personal relationships come after mutual interests. He wrote, “[T]hese new interest-based social networks enable users to express their interests in new, engaging ways and offer authentic, high value connectivity with new people we don’t already know. The different approaches of these interest-based services are distinct from Facebook, and they are powering the massive growth and engagement we are seeing in these new services.”

This kind of engagement of interest-based communities is not new nor is it rare. One only need look at the sporting world, much older than the Internet and today’s “social media,” to see how people come together. Here are some examples:

• Fantasy league football. Brings people from all social groups together.

• College sports. Alumni and fans rally around their team, regardless if they are rich or poor.

• Hobbies. Rock hounds, bird watchers, sewing circles, fishing and hunting are just a few activities that bring people together. If you can think of something to do, someone has a group for it.

• Patient-based. You may not think medical issues bring strangers together, but these communities are extremely useful and valuable to its collective membership. Communities for individuals or families for hospice support, cancer support, lupus support, kidney transplant support, addiction recovery groups are just a few examples of thousands of patient-based communities that provide peace and connection for millions of people.

 

COME TOGETHER

Now, it’s easier than ever to bring like-minded people together to share their passions, their interests and their desires. If you have a passion and want to share with others who feel the same way, contact us to find out about creating a = community designed just for you and people who share the same interest.

If you are interested in a fully customized community for your brand or mission-based organization, please contact us at: enterprise@socialengine.com

Posted in Branded Community | Leave a comment