If you are a WordPress fan you might have dove already into setting up Word Press Multi User sites – definitely a task a bit more challenging than a single user install, especially if you want to give the users the ability to create sub-domains [user.domain.com] versus plain domain directories [domain.com/user].

BuddyPress is a very interesting extension to a WordPressMultiUser environment – it will not run on a single user install, you will first have to have WPMU installed and ensured that all is working correctly before you attempt to install BuddyPress. Here is a quote from their site on what BuddyPress exactly is:

BuddyPress will transform an installation of WordPress MU into a social network platform.

BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes, each adding a distinct new feature. BuddyPress contains all the features you’d expect from WordPress but aims to let members socially interact.

It’s not a Facebook replacement, but it’s definitely a great option for ad free networking.

You can extend the features by tying bbPress into it, but this step is currently not for the faint of heart, to make it a seamless integration it might take several attempts and some troubleshooting (more on this in an other post).

2009 will be very interesting for the users of BuddyPress: there is an integration with a Photo Gallery on the horizon which will allow users to:

Members of a BuddyPress installation will be able to create their own photo albums. These albums can be shared with friends and groups.

Currently there is a Coppermine plugin which allows you to pull in some thumbs from your gallery, but this is nothing close to having an integrated Photo Gallery. Also, later this year there probably will be an explosion of new BuddyPress themes as currently there is a theme competition running for it.