Earlier this year Automattic founder and WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg suggested on his blog that the future of WordPress MU (multi user) is social media. TechCrunch covered the story too. As a user of WordPress and advocate of the new convergence I think it’s great news. From the BuddyPress site:
The idea of BuddyPress is to take a standard vanilla installation of WordPress MU and turn it into something that represents more of a community building tool, or niche social network.
BuddyPress is essentially a set of WordPress MU specific plugins. Each plugin adds a distinct feature (or component) to BuddyPress and only handles functionality for that specific component (for example, private messaging). BuddyPress also has a core plugin that all other plugins require, it contains shared functions and performs the basic modifications to the WordPress MU interface.
When using the default theme, BuddyPress will move the main focus of WordPress MU away from blogs, and onto the actual member profile. However, members can still blog and use all the blogging features they would normally expect from WordPress. When someone uses BuddyPress, they will be going there to build or enhance their profile first, and write something on their blog second. The blog is turned into another component of BuddyPress.