Wondering what to do about setting up a social networking website for your burgeoning community of Hot Rod Bowling* enthusiasts? Here are some resources for you.
First, there was an informative discussion on LinkedIn Answers, What is the best software package for creating and hosting a Social Networking Website with 34 responses that cover the free, the build-it-from-scratch, corporate tools, and many others.
And then two technology observers have written on the topic as well. Mark Hendrickson at TechCrunch provides 9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network with selected services and a nice discussion of the pros and cons of each one (with over 100 comments). He even provides a nice comparison chart, if you don't want to read the full text. And Jeremiah Owyang has a a more comprehensive List of “White Label” (Applications you can Rebrand) Social Networking Platforms with less detail.
Taken together, these discussions and lists help see the large picture of considerations that go into the technical end of setting up a social networking website. These say nothing for the social engineering end of things, like do your Hot Rod Bowling enthusiasts want such a thing in the first place.
* Hot Rod Bowling: A combination of polo, slot-car racing and bowling. Use your imagination. Please.