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WordPress hire hints at a more social future

Blogging platform's parent company, Automattic, brings on board developer Andy Peatling, who created an open-source social network based on WordPress' software.

Matt Mullenweg, creator of blogging platform WordPress, said in a blog post on Tuesday that "the future is social."

With that, he announced that WordPress parent company Automattic has hired designer and developer Andy Peatling, who has created a WordPress-based social network called BuddyPress.

BuddyPress, meanwhile, has become part of Automattic's arsenal. The project's home page has been replaced with an Automattic logo and the teaser "BuddyPress will transform a vanilla installation of WordPress MU into a social-network platform."

Mullenweg was a featured speaker at last week's Future of Web Apps conference in Miami, where talk of standards like OpenSocial and OpenID dominated the rhetoric.

Those same themes seem to be integral to WordPress' interest in the open-source BuddyPress. "Someday, perhaps, the world will have a truly free and open -ource alternative to the walled gardens and open-only-in-API platforms that currently dominate our social landscape," Mullenweg wrote in Tuesday's blog post.

WordPress hinted at some social undercurrents to the service when it launched WordPress Prologue, essentially a Twitter-like "microblogging" service for groups to communicate privately on the WordPress platform.

Earlier this year, Mullenweg announced that Automattic had raised $29.5 in venture funding, and several bloggers speculated that it would be used, in part, to hire more employees.

The latest Automattic hire likely won't have to go through too much company training, as he's been a longtime devotee to the company's products. "I've been all-consumed in WordPress for the past two years now, (and) I think almost every single site I've built since working as a freelancer has used WordPress in some way," Peatling wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "To get the opportunity to concentrate fully on WordPress every day, and also the chance to help mold WordPress in new ways, is a fantastic one not to be missed."