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How to build a social network? Helpful advice

Social networks have become an integral part of our daily lives. Statistics say that we spend more than two and a half hours daily on social networks, and the networks themselves have involved more than 60% of the world's population. We use social platforms to inform, entertain, communicate with new people, find new business partners and join communities that arouse our interest. The power of social networks is incredible, so it is not surprising that people are interested in creating their social network and repeating the success of Facebook. What is a social network? A modern social network is a digital tool that allows users to quickly create and share content such as videos, blog links, event announcements, photos, and live broadcasts on the Internet on mobile devices and laptops. More broadly, a social network is a website where any interaction of people takes place. We also witness the emergence of a new indirect interaction through AR/VR devices (such as glasses, helmets, su

What solution or engine to choose for creating your social network

When starting a social network project, you should understand that you are entering a highly competitive market. New players try to attract attention to their projects by offering users unique opportunities. Ideally, everything should show new ways of interaction to add emotional or practical experience to users. The Internet will provide you with many answers to choosing a new social network idea. But it would help if you realized that all such ideas have already been implemented in real projects. Therefore, you will have to make much effort to find an unoccupied niche or demanded function on the market. When you have done this great job, you need to start studying how to bring the idea to life. High quality, short development time, low cost - a classic triangle in which you will have to determine your place when developing the platform. Considering dozens and hundreds of proposals of the social network creation platform, you will find that they can be classified quite easily.

The most accessible and common category is the creation of websites on Drag & Drop online services. Another name for such platforms is Software as a Service (SaaS). The similarity of all such services - low cost of maintenance and ease of launch of project attract the attention of a vast number of users. Indeed, how attractive it is to get everything at once in one package of services. You do not need to look for suitable hosting, install and debug software. You may even not register your domain name and get it free at the third level. But the declared possibility of creating social networks on such services is more self-promotion than a real opportunity. User rights restrictions on platforms to execute user scripts and the inability to somehow go beyond the boundaries established by the owners of such services make such "social networks" completely uncompetitive.

You need to pay attention to another slight nuance. All websites and content on these platforms belong to the providers themselves. Even if a miracle happens and your website on such a platform becomes popular, you will have little chance to transfer your audience from there to a more productive platform. But there is a big difference between Facebook-like websites and websites working like Facebook. And there is no reason to assume that everything will change tomorrow, and providers of such platforms will change the concept in favor of your project. It is more likely that such a provider will become a social network itself, and all projects on its platform will be communities and groups. And the last question you should answer is, why do you need to pay for something you can obtain for free on Facebook?

The advantages of such platforms include an inexpensive opportunity to create a website for a community of like-minded people or friends that will have a beautiful design and look like a social network. So Drag & Drop may be ideal for getting acquainted with a new area, but, unfortunately, it is not suitable for creating a social network as a business.

Let's consider the option of Self-hosted solutions. What's behind this name? These special scripts are deployed on dedicated servers and are fully available to the owner for management and modification. As a rule, these are Content Management Systems (CMS) with installed special plugins to implement special networking functions. Let's consider the world's most popular CMS WordPress and one of the best BuddyPress social media plugins.

Here's what we can officially learn: " WordPress is software designed for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely. The basic WordPress software is simple and predictable, so you can easily get started. It also offers powerful features for growth and success." And also, " WordPress is open source software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app.” Please note that no one promises you unique functions. You need to add social functions somehow, and BuddyPress is in a hurry to help!" BuddyPress is a powerful community plugin for WordPress that takes your site beyond the blog. It includes all of the features you’ve come to expect from any online community, like user profiles, groups, activity streams, notifications, and more. Some fantastic uses we’ve seen are A campus-wide social network for your university, school, or college; An internal communication tool for your company; Niche social networks for very specific interest groups; Focused communities for products & services; Integrated with bbPress to enhance community forums.” It seems that comments on such a self-presentation are not very necessary. But still, note that the phrases like a beautiful website and campus-wide social network are not convincing for choosing WordPress as a platform for creating severe social networks. Instead of BuddyPress, you can decide to develop your plugin, which will be unique and much cheaper than the Full custom platform. In theory, this is possible, but the practical implementation comes across the internal features of the CMS itself. Even a regular WordPress-run website with a load of tens of thousands of users can start working with high delays. What should we assume about the possibility of servicing a social network where traffic is many times higher?

Another critical problem is the vulnerabilities of open-source products. The open-source approach increases users’ confidence in the platform because it is checked for backdoors. On the other hand, programmers sometimes make mistakes in writing code, leading to system vulnerabilities. If such errors are detected and eliminated in time, the danger is small, but no one knows for sure what will happen earlier, mistake correction or system hacking. Given that the principal value of a social network is the security of user data and content, it can be stated that the use of open-source web engines for social networks is similar to sitting on a gunpowder barrel.

Developing a social network platform from scratch is an extreme case. This way is the most spectacular and expensive approach. Just imagine, you have a huge budget, an excellent proven development team, and a brilliant idea. With such a starting position, you can direct the work of developers immediately to solve a particular task that reflects the uniqueness of your social network. If everything is confirmed, you will quickly receive the highest quality product. Are there any risks? Firstly, the current issue is that the budget may end before the finished product is released. According to statistics, more than 90% of funding projects do not reach the second investment round. The second question is the qualification of developers. You need to understand what and how they do. If you don't show curiosity from the very beginning, you can end up getting a beautifully wrapped old dried candy. And the third question is the overestimation of the idea. Perhaps what you thought was brilliant will be unclaimed by users, or maybe someone else will have time to implement it before you. Both can make the entire campaign to create a social network platform from scratch unprofitable. And then, the question will be what to do with a good but expensive and already unclaimed platform.

Self-developed solutions are an exciting category. They are similar to Full custom but created not by a third-party developer. The founders of Facebook, Twitter, ClubHous have built their social networks on their own. Originally ClubHouse was designed by founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth in Fall 2019 for podcasts under Talkshow. But by the spring of 2020, the application had changed its name and concept. It's hard to imagine that this would be possible if third-party developers did the work. We must admit that the Self-development approach is the riskiest, as the developer must prove himself as a good entrepreneur and inspire the trust of business angels and investment companies. If you carry such rare qualities, why are you still reading this article!

Why did we designate the Qwerty Social Network Engine (QSNE) as a separate category? The company Qwerty Networks developed this platform to deploy high-load social networks. It applies to Full custom platforms in many ways, as it was initially designed as not a universal solution. This unique platform makes available for anyone the stack of technologies that modern tech giants use.

 - Built-in support for all world languages and correction tools for translators, automatic user language detection with the possibility of subsequent customization, translations of publications and user comments, as well as other content, into readers languages;

 - The built-in billing system can operate more than a hundred different currencies, virtual and national, cross-rates calculation, taking into account exchange processing centers and the rates of various central banks, provides the functionality of the payment system;

 - Qwerty Networks file cloud can store and configure file access for users. We provide storage and access capabilities similar to Google Drive + the ability to exchange files, attach them to publications or other objects. This is extremely important because social networks and complex portals are content generators;

 - Billing and payment control systems integrated with notification services;

 - Artificial intelligence Qwerty AI (flexible capabilities, technical user support, intelligent ranking of publications);

 - News aggregation from authoritative sources (for each project, we define a list of "authorities");

 - Possibilities of a marketplace, automation of sales and logistics, as well as internal transaction arbitration - we can develop your project into an analog of AliExpress;

 - Smart contracts, «safe transactions», internal arbitration service;

 - A robust internal mail server provides sending messages and mailing automation that checks the correctness of addresses as well as overflowing mailboxes;

 - Protection systems against DDOS and other types of attacks with automatic notification of providers (by the way, Qwerty Networks owns the service for testing websites’ load resistance);

 - Modules for interacting with SMS and phone services;

 - Protecting accounts from hacking, logging permissions, and two-factor authentication. The QSNE security system is one of the critical blocks of the platform;

 - The ability to manage subscriptions to users and communities;

 - Aggressive data caching (similar to Facebook);

 - Flexible privacy settings for users and their publications;

 - Powerful multi-threaded search engine;

 - Creation of communities (open and closed pages, as well as professional and "by subscription");

 - Internal messenger (instant messaging system), integrated with QAIM, with the capabilities of artificial intelligence;

 - The antivirus scan of published content (SDK over 20 antiviruses), intelligent pre-moderation;

 - End-to-end tagging of any content and data in the flow of information;

 - Shortening link service system;

 - Protection against bots and parsing (verification of user actions);

 - SMM tools;

Perhaps you didn't see any critical social media feature in the description? Most likely, it already exists because the platform is constantly developing and accumulating all the experience of social networks working on it. In other words, the QSNE allows you to create any social network, as on the Full custom platform, only much more reliable, cheaper and faster.

What does it mean more reliable? First, you eliminate the risk of spending the budget on creating a platform for a social network instead of creating the social network itself. Next, QSNE is a software and hardware platform, so the declared functions are implemented for a social network of any scale. It is unnecessary to use excess resources at the startup stage, but excellent scalability guarantees impeccable maintenance of the project at any stage of its life cycle. Finally, installing the platform in the customer's infrastructure is possible if necessary.

What does it mean faster? All platform components form a complex unified system and do not need special testing. So the platform developer has the opportunity to offer strict deadlines for launching the project.

What does it mean cheaper? The price factor correlates strongly with the time factor. As the time for the development and testing of the main components of the social network is reduced, the primary efforts are aimed at creating unique functions. Therefore, the cost of a project on the QSNE platform is many times lower than when developing a Full custom platform from scratch. See for yourself by making a preliminary assessment using the calculator on Do you still think that the development price on this platform is high? Then, try to surprise Qwerty Networks with your idea, and they will be able to offer you co-financing for the development and maintenance of your new social network.

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