Basically, I want to build a networking site that takes user-input data and creates a categorically structured bank of ‘themes’. These will be associated with user-input tags, which will connect them semantically and make them searchable. The site, made up of user profiles and these ‘themes’, will be structured by geographic location, kind of like Craigslist but with more detailed levels of locality. Essentially, I want to make it possible to accept organic content and convert it to a computer-processable form, to then be manipulated, searched, mapped, etc as flexibly as possible. There will be some kind of communication capability, a detailed search interface, mapping, etc, etc.
I don’t even know where to start. It sounds like some heavy-duty, data sciencey, algorithmic, I-don’t-even-know-what coding magic. My question is: generally speaking, what do I need to know to do all of this? Is it reasonable to think of learning these skills in my free time, or should I hire a pro?
Thanks for any input!