Amazon has launched Spark, a social network for its shoppers

Amazon is getting into the social media fight, but this network is more about shopping than sharing pictures of your dogs, cats, kids, latest vacation you visited, trendy restaurant or latest meal.

Amazon Spark, is a social network for Amazon shoppers that allows Prime members to shop for items. Spark is a new feature in Amazons app that encourages users to tag images, stories and ideas about products they like.

In addition, Amazon's Spark, will allow amazon Spark members to showcase and buy products on Amazon platforms, is its first clear app that introduces the online e-commerce giant shopping store into the world of social media.

For now the Sparks site will be aimed at getting Amazon’s hardcore users to spend even more money with the e-commerce giant.

What does this has to do with Elgg application? Elgg need some help.

From Amazon’s market research, more and more people all over the world are now spending more time and money in small communities that share their interests. This is something Facebook has tried and struggled with.  There are communities all over the world that are build online based on community groups. For example, farmers wants groups that cater for their needs. Dating sites members are very specific with their needs, church members and so on and on.

Major online social network giants will not solve online community problems. In fact, there is more harm that is done to the members on large social networks that small social networks managed by private or small companies. For example conservative’s largest community groups were discriminated against and even blocked by Facebook site in 2012 to 2017. This is where Elgg is continuing to playing a very vital role in filling the gap that large social networks can not satisfy or fulfill.

Even though in the past some site owners have tried to embed Elgg in WordPress or vice versa, WordPress cannot compare on functionalities with Elgg directly at the moment. However, this is what I know. According to SimilarTech Ltd.

  • Elgg has 1,137 websites all over the world, while WordPress has 26,189,888 Websites worldwide.
  • WordPress is leading in Top 10K Sites, Top 100K Sites, Top 1M Sites and The Entire Web.
  • In terms of market share, Elgg is clearly lagging behind, losing to WordPress in all segments.
  • WordPress has better usage coverage in more websites categories. Including Business & Industry, People & Society, Arts & Entertainment, Religion & Spirituality and 242 other categories.
  • Elgg hasn't got a lead over WordPress in any websites category.
  • WordPress is leading in most countries, including United States, Russia, Japan, United Kingdom and 219 other countries.
  • Elgg hasn't got a lead over WordPress in any country.

If the above information stands to be correct, then Elgg has a lot of work to do in order to win site owners and online communities.

At the moment it seems like WordPress Personal Website or Blog, Professional Website Templates, WordPress for Business, WordPress Premium Blog, Personalized Blog, and WordPress Templates has worn online site owners trust. However, Elgg has a big role to play as social network engine option for future entrepreneurs in the near future.

From the look of things, Elgg is picking up some new members with new interest in opening new communities that will serve various online niches.

In mid-1970s, Procter & Gamble was struggling to come up with a product that could beat Irish Spring, a new and popular soap bar from Colgate. "As Colgate's market share increased, Procter & Gamble knew it was only a matter of time before its market share dwindled."

Elgg might be in the same position today and with support from the community members, Elgg has its bright future a head.

The big 3-word question for Elgg community is! How might we?

Why else might we want to create a social network engine better than WordPress content management system or CMS?

  • Elgg will never be a CMS. It's a development framework, not an out of the box solution. I don't understand why you compare screws with nails.

  • Ismayil Khayredinov, Thanks for your input. I shared my thought so that the Elgg community members can think on how they can help or do more to help build Elgg to serve more online communities than it does at the moment. I also know that at the moment the core team is doing its best to keep Elgg growing. In addition, I understand that Elgg and WordPress are two distinct applications. However, someone might be curious to ask another questions regarding

      I don't understand why you compare screws with nails.

    Why are people using more screws than nails? 

    There are several tools that Elgg offers that are the same or better than WordPress tools. For example, blogs pages, discussion pages, and many more but Elgg does not seem to sway WordPress users to switch to Elgg or prefer Elgg as first option in their online application or framework choices.

  • Because WordPress users don't want discussions, files, and all the other junk that comes with Elgg. WordPress is a nice tool to write a blog, and it ends at that, it's not suited for large applications, neither is Elgg, though it does better than most. I don't Elgg is going to "grow" any more, because there are far more enjoyable frameworks to work with. Elgg should be looked at as a role model for an extenable/hookable framework, but I don't think we will be attracting any more good PHP devs, because there are superior suites, like Laravel. Elgg is great for testing ideas and working with small budgets because it comes with a set of tools, but the more I use it the more frustrated I become with the deployment process, all the boilerplate that is needed to build a simple controller and so on. I mean it's great that you are enthusiastic about Elgg, but we are at least 5 years behind in best practices.

  • Ismayil Khayredinov, I understand your frustrations with Elgg lagging behind when it comes to best practices. You have contributed a lot of work to Elgg core and even several plugins development. The truth is, several goals that have been set by you and several others to make the future Elgg superior suite like Laravel are completely achievable.

    I think there are several community members here who should give their feedback. However, for this to be achieved we should go through 5 steps processes in order to change things that are holding back elgg from changing from old technology to future technology platform.

    1. First we should learn what the Elgg issues are
    2. Elgg community should then define the problems and which problems need clear answers
    3. Then Elgg community should generate possible solutions for Elgg
    4. Elgg community should abandon perfection and develop a plan and build Elgg
    5. Finally, the elgg community members should continue testing and getting feedback from other Elgg community members and customers.
  • Ismayil Khayredinov, when I was reading your past post suggestion concerning "JS boilerplate and spaghetti code we have to write to achieve simple AJAXification" I was surprised that most of the community members sited time has an obstacle to achieve JS Framework.

    I think the secret of making Elgg a better framework is within the posts and discussions on this community. It is our job as community members to search, read and try to implement those ideas in order for Elgg to grow.

    For example 3 years ago on GitHub one of us tried to develop Laravel's controllers for elgg.

  • I honestly don't think the community has much to contribute to Elgg's future. It's a lot of discordant voices that all want a different thing. What we need is people like Michele, who invest time and funds to drive Elgg development based on real-life use cases. All the discussions that happened here in the past about the "future" ended up pissing off everyone on the core team and not resulting in anything constructive. What Elgg needs is people who don't talk much but do work and contribute actual code to core. We need people with vision who can translate it into code. I have the roadmap figured out in my head, but I am burned out and don't want to lead the way. I will put together my thoughts in a list, perhaps it might inspire someone.

  • Hello guys nice discussion on how to move elgg forward..
    I would love to ask some questions based on this discussion... Thanks

    Question 1:
    "because there are superior suites, like Laravel"
    Is laravel better than elgg?..cos I do brag about elgg being better than laravel with my friends.

    Question 2:
    " Elgg is great for testing ideas and working with small budgets"
    Is elgg no longer suitable or great for building large communities or enterprise startup communities?

  • 1) Laravel comes barebones, so Elgg wins in terms of how much functionality you can get out of it by installing a bunch of plugins. Laravel wins in terms of its architecture and mindset that allows you to build high class large scale apps. Testability of Laravel apps is much higher, so I think it beats Elgg in terms of long-term maintenance and growth burden. But in reality Elgg can be a Laravel app, ultimately Laravel is a set of tools, so we could throw away all the wheels that Elgg has reinvented and use Laravel as a foundation. Once I am more comfortable with Laravel I'd like to try and put Elgg on top of it.
    2) Sure you can. It depends on your needs. We still use Elgg a lot, but Laravel might be more suitable for custom projects. The amount of work that goes into customising Elgg, dealing with third-party plugins, corky UI, expensive database queries sometime outweighs the effort that would go into building a Laravel app from scratch.

  • I appreciate the Elgg cheerleading and putting thought into this!

    I think we have to consider what unique value Elgg brings to the table, and whether or not we would be better off in a world where Elgg were a set of APIs/features within another ecosystem. To attract devs a system must have either a great developer experience (Laravel/Symfony) or an undeniably rich featureset (Drupal) or community (WordPress). Elgg is lacking all three.

    Drupal is really Elgg's big sister, built with the same everything-is-hookable/plugins-working-together spirit, and already has so many CMS features Elgg users want: Web-configurable Views, Panels, Paragraphs, Rules, Taxonomy, roles, workflows. For entities: custom ordering, URL paths, revisions, translations. And Elgg could benefit from its fragment caching, CDN support, and efficient DB structures.

    But that cost: Drupal's APIs and coding conventions are arguably worse than Elgg's (some notable exceptions, like forms) and it's a behemoth out of the box.

    The big features of Laravel I think are its docs, and Laracasts. I think Symfony can do all the same, but I feel like I'd do more digging. Symfony 4 is around the corner. As we stew on this it'll be interesting to see what changes in the Symfony world.