8 Free, Offbeat Open-source Social Tools

Tweeting, status updating…you don’t have to look very hard to see how the most popular social networks encourage a kind of groupthink among their users. If you’re a maverick, though, or your organization wants to customize social tools for internal use, here are eight free, open-source resources.

Storytlr is an open-source “lifestreaming” application that was recently released on Google Code. It can collect and let you share content you have on social media sites, blogs and elsewhere, but it’s best known for allowing you to make tapestries and slideshows along a timeline representing your online social activities. The Storytlr site is shutting down, but the code and applications based on it will live on.

Like Storytlr, Sweetcron is a very well-liked open-source lifestreaming application. Over at OStatic, Lisa discussed how it can aggregate the many types of social networking that you do. Lisa also discussed Amplifeeder, which does similar things.

Identi.ca is the best-known open-source alternative to Twitter. The microblogging platform is used by lots of people in the open source community, and is a good choice for the business or organization that wants to customize an internal microblogging strategy. Laconica is also worth looking into.

Jisko is an open-source microblogging platform based on MySQL and PHP that offers some unusual features, one of the most useful being the ability to include attachments with your updates. People who read Jisko’s equivalents of tweets can download your attachment in a single click (be careful about malware and untrusted senders, though). OStatic covered Jisko here.

Flock is a favorite browser among many social networking addicts, due to its tight integration with social applications. Based on Mozilla Firefox, it offers integrated Twitter functionality and can help you manage your online social life from one place.

BitNami isn’t a social networking tool, but its pre-built, open-source software “stacks” can instantly give you or your organization a powerful wiki, blog, forums for discussion, and many other useful, server-based social applications. Bitnami configures the whole stack, so you’re free of installation headaches, and the software you use costs you nothing. You can also run your applications natively, virtually, or in the cloud.