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Building Online Community: User Profiles


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Ok, racefans....are we ready to build the core of all community driven websites? Yup, that's right, today we talk all about building user profiles.

On this episode of G&G, we chat about why user profiles are important for creating real community on the web. We gab about what information you should collect and give some ideas on what type of dynamic info could and should go on a user's profile page.

For the second half of the show, you drupal folks are going to be in hog heaven. We talk about 3 approaches you can take to drupal profile setup, and recommend our favorite. We talk about the the core profile module, the bio module, and the combo of usernode and nodeprofile modules.

But, before all that, we weigh the idea of whether privacy concerns on the internet are driven by security...or if maybe it's something else? All on this week's edge-of-your-seat episode of Geeks and God.

Enhanced cast of this episode not working

I subscribed to the enhanced version of the G&G podcast. This episode doesnt want to download.

Working fine now. I checked

Working fine now. I checked this morning and that latest episode on the enhanced cast downloaded.

I fixed it

I fixed it. iTunes doesn't like spaces in the file names and one slipped in there.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Thanks for the screencast.

Thanks for the screencast. love screencasts. That style of teaching just clicks with me when I see someone do it. Lynda.com is one of my favorite sites because its all visual. I hope in the future you do some more screencasts on drupal.

That jing app is pretty slick.

screencast on profiles

The screencast rocks. Great job. I have created a profile system for a new site I worked on this fall and even used the legal module to force users to accept legal terms for usage of the site..etc. I haven't really put much thought into theming the profile, but now I might visit that. My theme is built from Zen so it should work easily since Zen is a phptemplate based theme.


Mark Shropshire "shrop"
Geeks & God Forums Moderator

Another Social Network

The series on building online community is very interesting and thought provoking. I can really see where our church could become more of a "community" with improved communication that an online community can provide.

I looked at the St Matthews community site and it looks great. I think the class on how to use the site is a great idea.

The question that is stuck in my mind is, why another online community? Personally, I have an account on Facebook, churchmedia.net, groups.drupal.org, geeksandgod(of course) and others. I am sure that is a short list compared to other listeners, but it feels like too many to me. What are the pros and cons of setting up your own site vs creating a group on Facebook or something that your members are already using. Also, having our online communities totally disconnected could contribute to online communities being less genuine.

I have heard that google is working on some kind of open social framework that might allow integration of separate social networks, but I don't know any details.

I would be interested in your opinions on this.


features, privacy, and more social networks

Social networks are here to stay. But, just having a few big ones is the thing I'm not so sure about. It seems that we are moving from a few huge social networks to niche networks. They are popping up everywhere.

For us it was 3 things:
1) Features. There were just some features we wanted that we didn't get elsewhere.

2) Privacy. We control what gets indexed by search engines. Soon we will have truly private groups that can be used for church specific activities. Like, having a group for our administrative board or for a special project.

3) There is something about keeping people at the church site. Rob puts it into better words than I do. It familiar to them. It isn't sending them all over the Internet. It's keeping them 'at the church' where they are more comfortable. And, while I am all for sending people out into the world... when it comes to the digital world many people aren't ready. They is a place where they can get comfortable... can get ready.

Does this help? I'd expect to see many more social networks pop up over the next few years. That's one of the reasons I'm becoming a fan of openid.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Link to community builder

Heres a link to the community builder extension
Community Builder

Joomla Community Builder

Joomla Community Builder is a great option for creating user profiles with dynamic content out of the box. Although it is not "easy" (theres a bit of a learning curve), it gives lots of options. Also, there are some good "group" components as well.

Age of Anonymity

I wrote a school task inspired by your discussion on anonymity on this episode.

Paul Vaartjes

Paul Vaartjes