At Today's WordPress Camp in San Francisco - covered in detail by ZD's Andrew Mager here - Founder Matt Mullenweg discussed impressive growth for WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Page views grew from 1.5 billion to 6.5 billion/month with 120-160 million unique visitors, including a third from heavyweight media sites. Worldwide two million new blogs have been created in the last year with blog posts leaping to 35 million. (The previous statistic was 20 million).
Most interesting for me was tracking the emergence of BuddyPress, which was taken under Automattic's wing earlier this year.
BuddyPress is a social network in a box - a FaceBook style network you will be able to install into WordPress MU, the multiple user iteration of WordPress.
Steady progress is being made on the multiple plugins which constitute this offering, with version 1.0 slated for December 08 delivery. (Certain components are available now in beta).
Andy Peatling originally created a social network called chickspeak on the WordPress mu platform (one installation spawns multiple WordPress blog instances). The idea was strong enough for Automattic to pick up for replication as 'BuddyPress' in their growing stable of products.
Andy's slides above show the progress being made on this intriguing application.
Enterprise Collaboration Applications
BuddyPress may be a viable corporate social network platform, and as the first major open source offering could compliment multiple blogs to form intriguing components of an enterprise 2.0 collaboration space.
A common criticism of FaceBook is its closed, proprietary nature - your content lives on their servers.
Instances of WordPress mu behind a firewall could provide a powerful and configurable/customizable alternative to the ad hoc use of FaceBook as a corporate employee connector. FaceBook use by the employees of large corporations has increased substantially as I've previously discussed here: the lack of an internal network can cause a major power vacuum.
Much has been written about ‘web generation’ users growing up using the web, just as previous generations adopted telephones or offline computers as part of life. What is less often discussed today is the void left if an enterprise doesn’t have an efficient collaboration space internally: there is a safety valve for employees to talk about that and a whole lot more… it’s on the public internet, and more and more people are using it.
I will continue to follow the progress of this promising sounding platform as it coalesces into a version 1 for full evaluation as a credible FaceBook competitor you can install on your own server.