HerSphere: Social Network and Blogging Platform for Women
You know facebook? Right? Well there are other types of social networks that have been popping up every now and then: These are vertical social networks, or social networks that specialize in a certain vertical or category. From Lebanon, HerSphere is the latest comer to the arena and it is for women.
HerSphere is owned by Women in IT (WIT) a Lebanese NGO founded in July 2005 with a mission to make women’s life better through ICT according to Salam Yamout, the founder and president of WIT and Secretary of the MIT Enterprise Forum for Entrepreneurship. (NGO: if you do not know is Non Government Organization, which means it is not for profit.)
According to Salam with HerSphere, WIT is trying to create a space where a woman can find hope, answers, challenges, and help in matters facing her in her daily life.
She explaind to ArabCrunch:
“Women are diverse creatures, whoever, we all face common challenges such as raising a family while working outside the home, adjusting to the workplace, finding the place of technology in our daily lives (we would have preferred to live without having to deal with it), hormones, motherhood, cooking, hair, nail polish, etc.. Sometimes, just the fact of reading similar problems or fears coming from a woman half way across the globe, makes us feel better already that we are not alone. HerSphere will eventually become, I hope, a support and empowerment network”.
The platform is equipped with the typical social networking features: Profiles and message which allows women to network and stay in touch with each other. And the Activity log, keeps friends up-to-date with their peers activities across the network.
ThepPlatform comes with blogs and groups, where any user can start her blog and start blogging her thoughts, which in turn gets aggregated to the HerSphere homepage. And those who are familiar with wordpress, would not have any problem using the blogging platform, since it is built on wordpress MU, which provides the same wordpress features but for group blogging.
HereSphere also comes with groups, which are another interesting aspect of social networking, because they will allow women to discuss and share ideas in different topics. Any members can setup a group, that comes with similar features to facebook groups: Privacy level can be public, private or hidden. And each group has Description, News, Members, Group Wire (like FB wall).
The platform is built using a self hosted WordPress MU and BuddyPress, however it needs some extra customization, such as: About Us page and User’s profile details, so people will know what they are coming across in here. Nevertheless I was told the developer is working in tweaking the platform further more and more tweaks and features are coming soon.
HerSphere is targeting all women across the world, as Salam told ArabCrunch. And as the platform is currently in English, Salam encourages women to blog in the language of their choice.
Building a community around a social network is a daunting task with the influx of social networks all over the web. So I suggest to
MIT WIT to assign fulltime and part time community managers from different countries. Where they will be actively blogging in frequent bases, posting groups discussion entries, in order to create a lively content, which in turn will entice other woman to join in and generate more content.