Put to use
Broadcast Electronics Commotion Wall is a system that was developed just for a radio station environment. According to its product description, "The Commotion Wall is the central control center for the Commotion platform. It's what connects you to your listeners whether they are on Facebook, Twitter, SMS, IM, the request line, your website or even your mobile app.
"The concept behind Commotion Wall is to make the communication source transparent to the station. Whether listeners are engaging the station through Facebook, Twitter, IM or SMS, it all comes into a single interface. And when the station DJ replies, the message is routed back automatically to the originating social media channel. A key difference between Commotion Wall and other social networking aggregators, is that Commotion is also aggregating the other side of the conversations taking place on the station website and mobile app in the Activity Stream on the Commotion Bar.
"In addition, Commotion Wall supports voice mail as well as photos, which can be helpful for contests and other listener interactions."
In addition, BE is offers a tool to mange SMS messaging (SMS Campaign Manager) and a tool to allow listener interaction with music choices (Crowd Control).
There are a lot of choices out there at different price points, but how about some open-source solutions? These are free, but if you have some programming skills one of them could be an effective solution to creating your own social media platform. Here are a few.
Elgg is an award-winning open-source social networking engine that provides a robust framework on which to build all kinds of social environments, from a campus wide social network for your university, school or college or an internal collaborative platform for your organization through to a brand-building communications tool for your company and its clients. Elgg was voted best open source social networking platform in 2008.
Elgg requires an Apache-based server environment and uses the PHP scripting language. The open source database language My SQL is used to store data.
Lovd by Less is among the first and only few open-source social networking platforms built on Ruby on Rails. Some features of Lovd by Less include blogs, photo gallery with captions, site search for friends, activity update and user-to-user messaging. Other things that are built into the software include Flickr and YouTube integration.
One thing good about Lovd by Less is that it is easy to use and contains most of the applications that you need. For those who prefer Ruby on Rail rather than php, this would be a good alternative. It features the ability to follow a user (mutual following is friending), user-to-user messaging, profile comments, user blogs with comments, a photo gallery with captions, site search for friends, profile bio and information, a user dashboard (recent activity of friends), emailed activity, Flickr integration and YouTube integration.
XOOPS is a Web application platform written in PHP for the MySQL database. Its object orientation makes it an ideal tool for developing small or large community websites, intracompany and corporate portals, weblogs and much more. Using the YOGURT extension the pair forms a powerful social network platform.
McNamara is president of McNamara Associates, Cape Coral, FL.