January Community Roundup

Happy new year everyone! Here’s a quick look at what has been going on with SocialEngine!

New Add-ons and Updates:

Members Verification Plugin –  Members Verification Plugin enables site members to verify other members. Members can add comment / note / recommendation while verifying others. Members that receive a threshold number of verifications are marked as “Verified” at many places on the site.

SocialEngine API: REST Services for SocialEngine – The API is JSON based and very simple to install and use. Just install the add-on and you are all set to programmatically access the SocialEngine content. If you need more functionality or need to access the content of third party add-ons, we are always there to extend the functionality if requested by more users. If not, then also we can help with custom development.
Members You Know Plugin – This plugin helps people to get know the members who visited their profile along with suggestions for friendship.
Numeral Persian/Arabic Captcha – Numeral Persian/Arabic Captcha is a mod that replace reCaptcha with a Persian numeral captach.
Nested Comments – If you use standard flat-style comments all replies are mixed. So replies to other comments and replies to the original post are all in the same level. Nested comments plugin helps to overcome this organizing all posts in threads.
Responsive Course Template – This plugin contains 2 products for it Course Template and Course module, which solve 2 problems design and functionality. Responsive layouts – works good on any mobile/tablet! Unique Slidehoshow, Features, Popular courses block on home page, Big footer with many widgets, Order now and get Free installation Service!
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Advanced Comments Plugin – This plugin comes packed with many useful features for commenting like replying to comments, nested / threaded comments, voting for comments, photo & link attachments in comments, tagging friends & content in comments, and more! With intelligent filtering, users can make most active conversations in the comment threads surface to the top.

Community Owner Spotlight:

We decided that we wanted to try something a little different this month. Instead of hilighiting a few new SE PHP sites we wanted to focus on one new SocialEngine Community Owner and ask a few questions! This month we spoke with Eddie at www.4m8sonly.co.uk. Here’s what Eddie had to say:
SocialEngine: What is your social community?
Eddie: We call ourselves www.4m8sonly.co.uk. We are a friendship only site for people living in the UK. It’s all about finding local friends with similar interests. It’s a safe and well administered environment where people can interact and share.
SE: How long have you been running it?
Eddie: In our present form we have been going since June 2014 after a major makeover and update from earlier SE versions.
SE: What is the greatest advantage of creating a community with SocialEngine versus using pre existing platforms to establish a community?
Eddie: It’s the sheer flexibility of the code plus the ease with which you can make a start. You really can be running a unique community almost immediately. Then there is the choice of plugins and developers out there which allows you to craft a thought through environment which doesn’t have to stand still. I love it!
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SE: What inspired you to create this particular community?
Eddie: This was from personal experience when I moved with work to a new area leaving behind an established group of friends. I looked on the web but at the time it was all about dating and couldn’t find anything that worked for me. This gave me the idea to create a friendship only site where people can finds local friends online. I wanted a bright, welcoming place which I could trust. So I made one!
SE: How did you come up with the name for your social community?
Eddie: I wanted it to be short and to the point. Texting was a big deal and m8 was a commonly used abbreviation for mate (or friend). 4m8sonly (For mates only) evolved from there.
SE: If you had to describe the personality of your social community in three words what would they be?
Eddie: Honest, reliable, dynamic.
SE: Do you have a favorite moment that has taken place in your social community?
Eddie: Difficult to choose one. We get a lot of positive feedback about how we make a difference. It gives me a buzz to see lots of friends requests and activity on the site sharing blogs, photos, messages and a true sense of belonging. But the high point was an email from a member who had lost friends through relocation and was feeling very isolated. 4m8sonly worked for them and they said ‘your site has changed my life’. That was humbling.
SE: What is the best part about managing your social community?
Eddie: I welcome each new member with a personal style email and it often starts a dialogue. I guess members are used to an automated system, the personal touch stands us apart. This dialogue creates trust and genuine feedback. My site has benefited a lot from listening and reacting to members concerns and comments. Having a genuine, well administered and professional site that members trust is the best.
SE: What is your least favorite part about managing your social community?
Eddie: You have to stay on top of developments in social networking and that takes time. Plus our commitment to friendship only means we sometimes have to redirect new membership applications. We will be creating a new SE site to accommodate other users in the future.
SE: What is your favorite plugin?
Eddie: Initially it was a simple slideshow, it animated the site to a degree I could control. I have never liked multiple movement on the page but a useful display was welcome. However to my surprise the blog has started to take off. I have some regular contributors and it seems to create a buzz about the place.
SE: How has managing this social community affected your relationship to what the community is about?
Eddie: I knew there were people out there looking for friendship only. The membership of the site reflects how people of all ages use the internet in new ways of networking and it’s not just about dating. The surprise was that 4m8sonly attracts all age groups, from students, single parents, people just relocating or moving on with their life. It’s great to be a part of this.
SE: What advice do you have for people trying to start a social community with SocialEngine?
Eddie: For me it’s about a solid focus. The temptation, in my case, was to go ‘international’ and then stack on dating as well in an attempt to capture as many as possible. But it was too broad, too scattered. Don’t buy every plugin you can think of on day one, find a developer you trust and use a professional to design some aspects of your site such as logo. Get the basics right and build from there. Look at other sites. Learn from what works, avoid what looks poor. Check for typos on your site because people lose trust if they think it’s thrown together. Finally, listen to your members and enjoy what you do. The rest comes from there.
Thanks so much to Eddie at http://www.4m8sonly.co.uk/ for taking the time to talk to us! Are you launching a new site? Would you like to be featured on our Community roundup? Send us an email at spotlight@socialengine.com and send us the URL for your site so we can check it out!

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