Re: The BuddyPress UI Design and conceptual approach to Social Networking
Some great points in this thread.
I think the whole concept of the ‘activity stream’ is best migrated into a per-user basis. By that I mean, I get to see the activity I care about. Groups that I follow, threads I’ve started or replied to (or even viewed often, as a sort of auto-subscribe), the activities of my friends and so on. When you have a community with thousands of active users, no one’s gonna be interested in every single new item except maybe the ones most deeply invested in the site, and even they will barely have time to skim-read through it all.
I found the new site-wide activity feed very confusing, especially since it pulls in not just threads, but replies. I have no interest in reading a snippet like “I’ll look into that” without a clue what the discussion is about.
If a site really believes that new users won’t be content just reading the latest blog posts before they dig after their items of interest on their own, they could just make a ‘featured activity’-page, which would work just like the personal activity stream except in public.
Heck, why not just make groups able to subscribe to content the same way users do? An example use case would be a developers group, where the developers could monitor particular activities that all devs should be aware of. This way, every item on BP that could be subscribed to would have both a ‘subscribe’ and ‘subscribe with group’ (for which you could select many of course).
Now, as for the very activity stream of ‘updates’ itself, I never fancied this feature. The way I see it it’s just a lightweight forum, in which case it makes no sense to keep it separate from BP’s other forum component. The way I’d make an activity stream (or, simple microblogging rather) would be by tags. In my group the ‘microupdates’ plugin would be enabled. Now all I’d have to do would be to add the ‘update’ tag to a forum post whenever I wanted it to appear in the dedicated ‘microupdates’ feed. It’d probably also be integrated with twitter/identi.ca
For REAL microblogging with BuddyPress, I think a proper integration with StatusNet would be much more appropriate, seeing as this application can afford to thoroughly optimize microblogging (talking both performance and API) to the extent that it can be used with stand-alone applications.