Community Plugin vs Ultimate Facebook Plugin

We currently have Communities plugin installed. I don't like the interface and it doesn't make connecting with other members easy to do.

I have been researching the Ultimate Facebook plugin. It appears it would give our members/users a much better experience, especially since it includes "activity feed". Am I correct in this assumption?

To give an idea of what we're looking for in terms of appearance and functionality - we used to have a social network on a previous site provided by NING. It looked very much like a Facebook news feed. It's that appearance and functionality we'd like to re-create at Neighborhood Boutiques.

Help me understand how best to achieve this with current plugins - especially Ultimate Facebook.

Thanks so much,

Linda S. Fitzgerald
Neighborhood Boutiques

  • Jude

    Hi there @linda_fitzgerald

    Hope you're doing great !!

    Ultimate Facebook is in some ways better suited to this purpose than Communities. Yes the assumption about activity feed is correct. Ultimate Facebook does provide a seamless activity feed.

    The downside being its more complex to setup, get the app approved by FB etc and finally its tied to the FB platform. Communities is platform independent but feature limited and not a great interface.

    Finally to set up the feed you can use this inbuilt widgets in your theme as explained in this video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzOJEUx7_3w&list=PLV1BcivFAIdtOy-6iY4Da_9Ol1qV5xPj4

    Thats video is part of a playlist that walks you through using the whole plugin in detail. Take a look to see if its a good fit for Neighborhood Boutiques.

    Cheers
    Jude

  • linda_fitzgerald

    Thanks much Jude! You are on top of it.

    Your response brings up more questions though - as follows:

    1. Is the activity feed from each members individual Facebook news feed, or an internal feed that looks same as a Facebook news feed? Trying to determine what is specifically meant by "tied to the FB platform?

    2. What do you mean by "app approval from Facebook"?

    Hopefully, knowing what you know about Neighborhood Boutiques, would you more readily recommend setting up Ultimate Facebook to accomplish what we want vs using Communities with it's limited features and yukky interface (sorry but it is yukky).

    Also, we plan to add Wiki Pro to give a better Wiki experience to our members. Assume this plug in would play well with Ultimate Facebook. Am I correct?

    Thanks so much Jude. As usual you are amazingly swift to respond and always exceedingly helpful!

    Blessings,

    Linda

  • Michelle Shull

    Hi, Linda!

    1. The Activity Feed will be linked to the page or wall of your choice (and that you have admin control/ownership of, you can't post other folks' wall content on accident.) On my sites, I've used Ultimate Facebook to share content between my site's Facebook "fan" page and the site, with the posts/content for the fan page showing up on the site. I've also used it for public groups, to bring the group conversation to my site.

    2. I believe Jude is speaking of recent Facebook API changes (and Facebook API changes happen all. the. time., it's something to consider before fully embracing ANY Facebook integration.) I'm pretty sure a simple integration (one that primarily posts your WP content to Facebook automagically) does NOT require FB approval, but more intrusive apps (which require access to more of your users' profiles, etc.) may need app approval. This can take a few days, but none of our members I've worked with have had a problem getting approval.

    Communities does have a yukky interface, no arguments here. :slight_smile:

    Have you considered BuddyPress? It's come so far in the last year in terms of reliability and simplicity to use. If you've been burned by Old BuddyPress, take a look at Nu BuddyPress, maybe give it a test on a sandbox site. It has all the features you want, including a really cool activity feed, and we even offer a Ning to BuddyPress importer tool. https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/ning-to-buddypress-user-importer/

    BuddyPress: https://buddypress.org/

    I personally love Groups, Private Messaging, and the Activity Feed, with our BuddyPress Activity Feed Plus plugin. (It lets users upload media in the Activity Feed.)

    They've really tightened the code, as well, so it's not such a huge drain on your resources, and you don't need a BuddyPress specific theme anymore.

    Anyway, I just wanted to toss BP out there if you hadn't considered it. :slight_smile:

    Hope this helps!

  • linda_fitzgerald

    Thanks much Michelle!

    For clarification:
    1. Neighborhood Boutiques is a MULTI-SITE platform designed to eventually house 30,000 member paid micro-sites for women who own or partner in a micro-business (4 or less employees). We them market/promote them across social media and beyond. . .
    2. We NO longer have a NING site so don't need to export anything.
    3. We use MARKETPRESSPRO; want to add WIKIPRO and at some point, COURSEPRESSPRO.
    4. We'll use WIKIPRO to develop our Boutiques University Resource Center.
    5. We added COMMUNITIES hoping it would permit our members to connect, engage and perhaps do business with each other as well as share expertise, etc.

    With the above as background to what we currently have and want to add; can we realistically add BUDDY PRESS PRO and expect it to play well with what we currently have, as well as what we'll be adding in the future (other neat and awesome WPMU plugins like CHAT)?

    In other words, which is the better option for us considering the "yukky" communities interface - Ultimate Facebook or Buddy Press?

    Thanks so much. We LOVE WPMU! You folks are amazing. . .

    Blessings,
    Linda

  • Michelle Shull

    I'd go with BuddyPress. It plays well with all our plugins, it's updated religiously, and it doesn't depend on a Facebook API. Plus, there's no Pro, it's all free, all the time. Ultimate Facebook is great, but you're trying to build your community on-site, BuddyPress is better suited. Plus, as of last year, it's totally multi-site compatible. Communities was originally created as an alternative to BP for multisite, before BP supported it. Ultimate Facebook is going to require you to maintain TWO communities, on site and on FB itself, BuddyPress will cut out some steps for you.

    BuddyPress is even directly integrated with Chat, so members who are friends can have private, one-on-one chats. Cool, huh?

    I'd usually find a way to promote one of our products over someone else's, but I think BuddyPress is ideal for your particular needs. I've used it for years on a pretty active site, and I've grown to love how easy it makes community building.

    You shouldn't have any trouble with BuddyPress playing well with MarketPress, Wiki, or CoursePress, either.

    Thank you! We love helping awesome members create awesome projects, I'm really excited to see how yours develops!

  • linda_fitzgerald

    Thanks much Michelle,

    Okay, I'm not the tech one of our team so I just need to make sure you/me are on same page. We have already developed our site using Multisites, MarketPress and PROsites so we can charge for membership. The site is http://neighborhoodboutiques.com, and we have just under 20 free (alpha) and paid members with blog/sites we call "micro-sites".

    We installed Communities because we wanted to have a way for members to connect, engage and perhaps do business with other members - in other words, a social network within our site for all our paid members. However, as you/me realize, Communities just won't cut it for us lol!

    So our current site is a multisite platform and if I understand you correctly; we can ADD (or interface) it with Buddy Press, add additional BP plugins needed to enhance the social sharing experience for members and that will work because Multisites supports Buddy Press. Am I correct?

    Okay, I think that puts into a much more succinct manner what it is I need to know. Next question will be - how to do it!

    Thanks so much Michelle and thanks for the rep points and kind words.

    Blessings,

    Linda

  • Michelle Shull

    Hello Linda!

    It's all going to be so easy, you'll be done before you can make a good cup of tea.

    Step 1: De-activated and remove Communities from your Network Admin dashboard.
    Step 2: Install BuddyPress via Plugins> Add New (it should be on the front page of the wordpress.org featured plugins).
    Step 3: Network Activate BuddyPress.
    Step 4: Create/adjust your Network BuddyPress settings via the Network Admin dashboard.
    Step 5: Enjoy BuddyPress, tweak different components as you need, or extend with BuddyPress plugins. (We've got an Activity Stream plugin that let's users upload images, share video, and fancy links.)

    Special note: always check the date any BuddyPress plugin you want to install was last updated. There are a bunch of current, happy plugins for BuddyPress, but there are a bunch of old ones that are still in the wild, as well. Most old BP plugins don't work. Some do, but err on the side of caution and test on a sandbox/test site before you send any of them live.

    Take care!

  • linda_fitzgerald

    Oh wow, Michelle thank you for your prompt response. I didn't see notification of this; so just now seeing how to do it.

    So to make sure I'm clear:

    1. Buddy Press is found on the Word Press. org site - not WPMU?
    2. Once we install, activate and create/adjust the settings in our Network Dashboard, we can extend it by using WPMU plugins for Buddy Press such as "Activity Stream"?

    In other words, once installed from Word Press.org; we can add plugins that are WPMU plugins?!

    Our tech-marketing partner is just coming off maternity leave and is working limited hours so I may have to do this and it scares me to do so :slight_smile:

    Thanks so much - you are great!

    Blessings,
    Linda

  • Jude

    Hey Linda

    Hope you had a blessed weekend.

    Just chipping in to answer you last few questions

    1. Buddy Press is found on the Word Press. org site - not WPMU?

    That's correct, its a free plugin available on WordPress. org

    2. Once we install, activate and create/adjust the settings in our Network Dashboard, we can extend it by using WPMU plugins for Buddy Press such as "Activity Stream"?

    Right again ! You can extend it in any number of ways either using our plugins or the many available just for BuddyPress.

    In other words, once installed from Word Press.org; we can add plugins that are WPMU plugins?!

    Right again ! You can :slight_smile:

    Our tech-marketing partner is just coming off maternity leave and is working limited hours so I may have to do this and it scares me to do so :slight_smile:

    Dont worry, I'll be around if you need help in setting this up.

    Just fire up a new ticket and we'll have a solution for it in no time.

    What is difference between "bp-multisites" and "BuddyPress"? I found "bp-multisites" on the WPMU site.

    BP-Multisites lets you have networks of social networks .. meaninng each site in your network of sites can be a social network.

    Very simply put, I would not bother with BP-Multisites if I were you. BuddyPress is what you're looking at for Neighborhood Boutiques..

    Cheers
    Jude

  • linda_fitzgerald

    Jude. . .

    Oh thank you soooo much! I started singing "Hey Jude" when I found your response. Two things:

    1. I'll be talking with our tech-marketing partner on Thursday as she's back very part time, so will see if she has time to do the install of Buddy Press.
    2. If not and I tackle it; the part that scares me is configuring it specifically for Neighborhood Boutiques. So may I assume that you can walk me through that piece?

    Back to you after conversation with our Jen!
    Again, thank you so much - you and Michelle! WPMU support is absolutely AWESOME!

    Blessings,

    Linda

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