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I am trying to find a Content Mangement/social interaction script that requires a person to be a part of a group. Specifically:

My daughter is a cheerleader and there are a number of cheer groups she is involved in and also has friends in many others. A lot of them could use some kind of website where they can share information between their team members and coach. The coach being the controller of the group and who can join etc. "Group Leader"? One can only join the group if invited or given a password or some such security. There would be multipel groups or in this case multiple cheer squads who were registered as groups and the cheerleaders a part of their group. The coach or group leader would have control of the group calender and they may have their own calendars and be messaging between them and/or other social interactions. IN a perfect world they could modify their own pages individualy. Communication could go globally or only to the group and a "friends or buddy" system. I think you get the idea. I really like OCportal and what it does and can do but it does not have the group funcitionality I am looking for. Perhaps I am just going to need to see about getting aprogrammer to write an add on for me if ther is nothing like this out there. But if you know of any I would appreciate being pointed in that direction.

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3 Answers 3

You can put this together with Drupal for the core CMS functions, and specifically the Organic Groups module for what you're describing as far as the various squads, etc. This is what the Drupal organization itself uses for its own groups sub-site. (If you scroll down a bit there, you'll see some have open membership, others are invitation-only, and others also go through a request process.)

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The are quite a few DIY social network scripts out there. Hotscripts has 114 free or paid for ones available.

MooSocial (From $149), and Friendika(free) are fairly representative of whats available in terms of facebook clones.

Twitter like microbloggers are also available, and most are simple to set up for a small group of people like yours (many are designed for exactly this purpose).

As others have pointed out setting something like this up in Drupal or Wordpress is possible and may provide greater flexibility for development, but if you're not hugely technical or time poor, then these might be overkill compared to a dedicated supported script which will come with feature updates to match facebook over time.

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There's very little need for most people/businesses to hire a developer to develop a new application/CMS from the ground up for them, so hiring a developer to write a plugin/extension for an existing platform is definitely a good approach. You could also use a CMS framework like Drupal, which is frequently used to create community/corporate portals. OpenAtrium in particular is a popular team portal package that comes with:

  • multiple groups with private membership
  • group-based calendars (a calendar for each squad)
  • group-based project management (so group leaders can assign tasks to specific members and set deadlines for projects)
  • group-based notebooks - These are wikis that can be organized into different notebooks and edited by anyone. They're pretty flexible and a very powerful collaboration and knowledge management tool. However, by default OA's notebook editor is pretty basic. You can create paragraphs and attach images and other files or link to other pages without any coding knowledge. But to embed inline images and links, you basically need to know HTML. However, you might be able to integrate some kind of WYSIWYG editor into it.
  • group shoutbox - this is like a twitter feed that anyone in the group can post to
  • group blogs - everyone posts to a single blog, and the comment area for each blog post can host threaded discussions.
  • group-based message board - this has to be separately enabled, and, again, there's not a very good editor for it, so you're mostly limited to text-only messages unless you use some sort of plugin.
  • e-mail notifications when a notebook page is changed, a messageboard post or blog comment is added, etc.

Luckily, Drupal and OA are both fairly popular, so there should be a lot of plugins available for them. Each group can also have their own theme, I believe. However, it probably requires significant coding to customize the themes.

TWiki is another open source groupware/enterprise portal platform that is very popular and has similar functionality.

You can also use multiple applications and simply have them share a single user table so that each member only needs to remember one set of usernames and passwords.

On the other hands, Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups are quite good at what they do. They can't be customized as much (though they're easier to make cosmetic changes to, like changing background colors, adding logos, etc. without any programming knowledge), but they provide most of the functionality a club-type organization needs in a website:

  • a group discussion board/mailing list
  • a group calendar
  • group file/document/image sharing
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