It’s something that has been on the minds of many people over the past few years, how can the casual user mimic some of the success seen by the social media super power known as Facebook. How in the world can anyone possibly make way to compete with something as huge as Facebook anyway? Well the short answer is “good luck”, but fat chance with a Facebook clone.

Now this is not to say that there are not scripts and tools available out there that wouldn’t allow to go ahead and provide you with a means of creating a fairly complex social network of your very own. After all, is all just software and scripts, right? The problem is that even though there are tools like Elgg, the Joomla Social Networking Script, amongst others, you still have to get people to care enough to use these things. Good luck with that.

Thinking niche

Honestly believe the only way you can make a go of any type of major portal clone whether it be a Digg clone or one copying the Facebook model is to look to specific niches. By tapping niches, you can often times hit on right move that will allow a small, rather insignificant (by Facebook/Twitter standards) to thrive despite it’s small stature. All you need to do is find a way to get people involved. Perhaps the simplest of all ready-to-use social platforms would be Ning. It’s honestly the simplest available to date that I have seen.

Now this is not to say that you cannot simply use a Drupal method or some other hacked up script to make a go of it, but using something like Ning is going to make your  life a whole lot easier. For my time and money, Ning is likely the best solution for most people looking to create a social network easily. But it’s no Facebook clone. Not really.

A Facebook Clone
Photo by denharsh

Examining the options

The crux of the matter is this. There is no out of the box, immediate Facebook clone that I am aware of. Well, maybe that is not entirely true.

FillMash – The clone that sounds cool, until you realize there are not files for the damned thing!

isocial – You guessed it, again, no files!!!

thebestfacebookcloneever – Perhaps this is the best ever, as this actually has files available! Amazing…

Back to the scripts!

Clearly, either using a script with something like Drupal or just relying on something unrelated like Ning is going to be the best bet. It’s sad, as I would have though there’d be more option is this space. And if there are, then they really need to work on some SEO as I haven’t been able to find them for the life of me.

Now to reiterate, there are plenty of paid solution scripts like Kootaili, among others. But at the end of the day, none of this really matters if you are not able to get people to use it. So relying on hitting a specific, passionate niche will in the end, be your saving grace.