More on Diaspora* and I’m Weeding My Garden

As a quick f0llow-up to my previous post about Diaspora, I wanted to mention some other networks and services that share the same open-web/open-source spirit.  Additionally, I want to point people to open D* pods.  No invites required, these pods are free and fully alpha just like the joindiaspora.com pod I’m on and have been inviting people to.  Finally, I have a personal social network announcement.

Commenters on my last post have been incredibly informative in sharing some other networks and services with me.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them.  In the spirit of the open web, I cannot support one service above others.  The idea is for the best ideas to coalesce at the surface and create the best possible social experience.  I have not tried any of these services myself, but I have looked into them briefly.  I only have a couple here now, but if you know any leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

Friendika attempts to unite all of the disparate services we use into one connected stream.  They even have two-way communication going in a limited capacity.  That means users can pull in their various feeds and can comment on some of them and have those comments pushed back out to the appropriate social network.  This is all built on a protocol that decentralizes the whole effort.  Unfortunately it doesn’t change the fact that you still have to belong to all of those other networks and give them your information in order to interact with other users.  This is a stepping stone to a truly open and fully connected social web.

Elgg. is an open-source social-network engine.  You can use it to build your own social network, similar to how the Diaspora software can be used to build your own pod.  The difference is that Elgg does not intend for the separate networks built on their engine to communicate with each other.  I’m sure it could be implemented, but it is not natively supported by the software.  This is a really powerful tool, though, and someone could definitely build their own network and allow it to interact with Diaspora.

Nymworld is just teasing for now.  It will be built upon the Diaspora framework but it aims to create a federation with other open services.  Nymworld will launch with a user bill of rights with a constitution to follow, I’m assuming based on user input.  This is an important project and I am following it closely.

ADDITIONS:

Commenter Luke shared FreedomBox with me.  This is fascinating, really.  The small-picture, Diaspora-related aspect of the FreedomBox is that it can provide anyone with a low-cost, low-resource means to host their own pod.  But this project is really about so much more than that.  It is about people always being free to communicate and about ensuring that no one ever owns the internet.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but these FreedomBoxes just scream “future!” to me.  Here is an informative flyer [pdf].

That’s all I have right now.  Like I said, let me know if you’ve found a service or network that is also making the web a more social and user-oriented place.

Moving right along, now.  The invites I have been sending out allow people to join the Diaspora pod hosted at joindiaspora.com.  This is the pod hosted and used by the creators of Diaspora.  This is not the only D* pod available, though.  There are a number of pods that are open to new users, no invites required.  A great resource to find a pod is http://podupti.me/.  This site provides a list of pods and some vital statistics.  You can also just Google “Diaspora pod” and find different pods.

By design, you should still be able to connect to a user on any other pod.  Sometimes you have to search specifically for them.  And right now there is no way to easily migrate your profile from one profile to another.  This is a good place for a reminder: Diaspora*, across all pods, is still in alpha testing.  Things will be broken, or break, and service will go on and offline occasionally.  The beauty is that it gets better all the time.  There are frequently small little improvements that make you happy to see the service grow.

There are definite benefits to joining a different pod.  Pods are hosted all over the world, so it is possible for users to find pods hosted in their home country, maybe even their city.  Furthermore since the pods are hosted by different groups, their priorities are different.  One pod may be focused more on up-time, whereas another may be focused on keeping the code as up-to-date as possible.  This allows users to align their priorities with the pod they join.  So already one of the advantages of a decentralized social web is in play for Diaspora.

Now for some personal social networking news.  I’m giving up on Google+.  I’m not going to close my account by any means, but I am no longer going to actively check and update on the service.  I’m throwing my support (my time and attention) to D*.  I’ve been actively maintaining four profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Diaspora.  It’s been a pain, especially since both G+ and D* are so new and don’t really have any of my main connections on them.

It is obvious to me that Google+ is an advertising platform.  The social network hides a much bigger agenda, and while I don’t believe it is sinister I also cannot support it.  Google made a mistake in its management of this product.  G+ provides some cool services and I really like that it is from Google.  But they haven’t tied any of their other products into it very tightly (no G-Wave 2.0).  I will continue to use those other products, like Gmail and Docs, but I am walking away from G+ starting today.

What about you?  What social networks do you use?  Let me know in the poll below.  Keep in mind that I’m including any service you use to interact with people in any way.  So this includes everything from YouTube through Facebook onto Foursquare, Reddit, and blogs.

Have you given up a social service recently?  Have you added one into your online social life?  Let me know in the comments below.

Did you enjoy this blog post?  Let me know by clicking the Like button below.

Tell me what you think by leaving a comment or contacting me.

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32 thoughts on “More on Diaspora* and I’m Weeding My Garden

  1. I gave up on FB & Twitter about 3 months ago.

    Joined G+ about a month ago and Diaspora about 2 weeks ago.

    I’ll continue to use G+ until my activity on Diaspora can let me give it up, too :-)

  2. What caused you to give up Twitter?

    Twitter is really my favorite. I get tons of news from Twitter. Plus it allows its main service to be channeled through any form someone wants to create. It is probably the last of the networks I would give up. It can exist alongside more robust networks so well.

  3. I deactivated my Facebook account over a year ago. As they have gotten worse, rather than better, about respecting their users, I formally deleted my account today.

    I deleted my G+ profile at the beginning of September because I disapproved of their real names policy — the one that kicked off the #nymwars.

    • I agree that Facebook has never really once made a move that showed it values its users more than its revenue stream. I plan to try to migrate my friends and family over to Diaspora as soon as it looks like they could be satisfied there. Once my immediate family and friends have mostly made the switch, I’ll leave Facebook behind as well.

      Google’s name policy made their agenda with G+ very clear. I never expected them to so blatantly put their advertising considerations before their users. I was very disappointed, and my use of the service pretty much halted at that point, though I still checked in on it occasionally.

      Thanks for your comments, I appreciate you contributing to the conversation.

      • Thank you for both your blog post and your response. ~smiles~ You put that very well: “as soon as it looks like they could be satisfied there.” I’ve only invited a few of my gaming friends to D* as of yet because I know they can handle an alpha, but will definitely be inviting my less tech-oriented friends as it progresses.

        See you over on D*! (I added you there. Hope that was okay.)

        • Thanks for the add! I am right there with you. I am only mentioning Diaspora and its benefits on Facebook. I have only actually invited a few early-adopter types from my FB connections. That will change as I see the D* user experience smooth out.

          I look forwarding to keeping up with you on D*!

  4. I do not use Facebook, never used Myspace and usually dislike all those big social networks. Though, I use Twitter and recently joined Diaspora. I am quite curious how it will work out. ;-)

    • How are you liking Diaspora so far? The beauty of that site is that it is a big social network but has the feel of a much smaller community. Maybe that is just because it hasn’t blown up yet, but I think that is part of the design.

      Twitter is my favorite. It is so simple, yet so useful. Thanks for your comment, Stella.

  5. I want to get rid of FB but my friends wont migrate over to diaspora yet

    • Give it time. Diaspora is just getting started and hasn’t really attracted any mainstream publicity. I can’t blame most casual users for not wanting to switch. In regards to shiny features, D* is pretty sparse. It’ll get there. These sort of transitions take time.

  6. I joined Diaspora* some weeks ago and like it a lot, although it’s yet difficult to find friends. As soon as D* is in Beta, I will delete my Facebook account. I already reduced my activities on FB.

    • Most of my online communication with my close friends and my family is through Facebook so I am tied in. For now. I am trying to use Diaspora in equal proportions, though. I just hope to be using it 25-50% more than Facebook by the time they reach full product launch.

  7. Am now focusing on Diaspora. I joined there 16 days ago and it’s been rather quiet due to lack of friends on there. However, Facebook have just gone and really slit their own throat in the past few days, dumping changes upon it’s users that are not at all popular and are violating privacy left right and centre. Annoyed by this and feeling this was one unnecessary change too many, I am now winding down the Facebook account and will delete it on New Years Day. This gives me three months to convince my FB pals to try out Diaspora and 2 of them have joined me over there now. We’re all very pleased with it – it’s clean and basic, free of the clutter, ads and nonsense that has bogged Facebook down into something that’s unbearable.

    I do NOT trust Google at all so have not touched Google+ with a bargepole. Never will. This is a BIG turning point because so many are so annoyed with FB they’re seeking alternatives. Unfortunately many are migrating to Google+ because it’s better known and many haven’t yet seen through their ploys and this is the challenge for me over the next 3 months – convincing my FB pals not just to ditch FB, but bypass Google+ and go for Diaspora. It’s not going to be easy, but I can but try. If they decide not to follow me there, fine, I respect their choice but come January 1st 2012 one of their friends will be permanently gone from Facebook.

    • I’m actually somewhat impressed with the changes Facebook is making. They have come a long way in terms of making it easier to control who sees your data. There model is the problem. As long as they are building on that same model of leveraging users to gain revenue, it ultimately won’t matter what the add or change. With that said, Timeline is a beautiful piece of information design and a wonderful social tool. Ticker is actually very smart and something I appreciate. Even the additions to Open Graph are intelligent and meaningful. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of these things migrated to Diaspora’s new, user-focused model.

      These changes show that Facebook is not stagnant. They are still on the balls of their feet, ready to move and adapt as needed to stay competitive. I don’t mind seeing competition at all. It means a better end-product for all of us.

      Thanks for your comment, it really contributed to the discussion. Why do you think the changes Facebook is bringing are bad? How do you feel privacy is being (further) violated?

  8. http://status.net (and its canonical instance http://identi.ca ) is awesome! It’s comes somewhere between twitter and diaspora. It’s a microblogging platform, but it’s also federated. Hopefully we will see diaspora statusnet interaction some time in the future!

  9. Pingback: Diaspora* « Strange Realms' Blog

  10. I am convinced that Diaspora* is to permanently replace the entire population of the Internet that want to progress and the future, for the rest of the population of the Internet who wishes to remain at interfaces and systems be obsolete: facebook, which still has value to advertise products. Google+ that has monopolized the web with too many services, creates confusion and wastes time and leaves to those who use it to those who manage dependencies, just google it easier if all its services would be the best. Twitter remains a viable alternative to these three, however afiancato Diaspora* with open source operating systems is what it means to really make progress.

    • See, I don’t think Diaspora will actually become this huge phenomenon and everyone will have their own D* seed. I think the real power of Diaspora is that they are blazing the trail, pioneering the way to a free and open social web. More networks like them are going to pop up, but these next generation of social networks will all talk to each other and interact. And D* will but just one among many. Hopefully users will be able to even move and migrate between services rather hassle-free because of some sort of standardization. The various networks could (and most certainly will) have their own internal perks, but they won’t be able to survive if they don’t connect to the larger social web.

      I do admire your enthusiasm for Diaspora, though. We feel that it is signaling some sort of fundamental change in the way we interact online. And that is all kinds of exciting. Thanks for your comment.

  11. only diaspora and sometimes identi.ca and twitter. I want to quit twitter. it’s nice but I don’t communicate with people there, so I don’t have the greatest motivation to quit.
    For communication I exclusively use distributed technologies that are as secure as possible. A year or two ago I jumped into the cold water with that plan and it feels better and better over time. The best part is that my friends are slowly joining me, even if it’s just using gtalk(jabber) on their phone instead of skype or sms.
    I’m looking forward to setting up my private diaspora pod and the time when OTR and SRTP encryption is baked into phones’ jabber clients. I give it a year from now :)

    • That is awesome. See, we need people like you that do dive in and test the waters. You stir it up and show everyone else that it is safe.

      I want to eventually host my own pod too. In fact, my plan is to host all of my family’s online information. Every home should have a server. And apartment buildings should have a server for tenants. It is getting to the point where you really don’t need to allow anyone else to hold your data online for you. I am hoping within a year after Diaspora’s full launch they release an extremely simple method of hosting your own pod. Something my mom could do. Regular people, with no understanding of servers and hosting, owning and controlling their online presence. That is the future.

      Thanks for visiting, I appreciate your comment.

  12. I still use my Facebook & Twitter, dying for my diaspora invite to show up in my inbox. I gotta tell ya though, after having 2 gmail accounts hacked, I’m a little hesitant to sign up to Google +, I think Google has too much connectivity as is, let alone w/ the concept of my actual name & what I’m doing n thoughts going through my head. Facebook I don’t really mess w/ on an actual level, as much as signing into a site through Facebook saves me hassle from signing up to the direct site (as is the case w/ WordPress), mainly it’s just constantly signed in so I can hit the ever so popular “share” button on sites, or to show a larger audience (hi mom, I’m talking about you!) Despite it’s lack of care for it’s user’s, Facebook still is the big boy, connected to almost every site online, and being fairly user friendly enough to still keep the non-techno-suave crowd checking in on their friends n family, so until Facebook goes the way of LJ or My____ (remember when THOSE were popular & your dog had one?) I think I’ll keep my account active. I’m wondering if there’s a method for Diaspora connecting w/ other social networking media as well.

    • Wait no more, an invite is zooming to your inbox right now.

      You’ll notice when you get all signed in that you can push your D* updates to Twitter and FB. You can’t pull in your streams, though. One-way communication for now. But that will change. The whole point is an open social web. Where it doesn’t matter which particular network you belong to, you can communicate with your friends outside.

      Bummer about your experience with Google.

  13. Pingback: Diaspora – Germinating a New Social Web | Verses and Discussion from R. Brockey

  14. Left behind MySpace and I can’t wait to drop FBook. I enjoy Twitter but I wonder sometimes if I’m shouting into an acoustic transmission line? I never really utilized FBook because of the narcissist rich kid camped on my shoulder mining my profile. Way to facist for me. With D* (unless I’m deluded) I can “breathe free” and create, expand, protect and share with many ‘aspects’. Wonderful. Thank you for your invitation. If you ever need a Taoist…

  15. So what’s the latest in Diaspora* land? We’ve fast-forwarded a year from this last post, where do you see the landscape headed now? Still optimistic? Any new features and functionality? Inquiring minds wanna know!

    • Wow, thanks for your continued interest.

      Well, the latest to happen is that the core team has announced they are turning over the project to the community.

      The project is still in alpha. That reflects the number of features more than the performance. The core features work very well. There are a few pods that have implemented things like chat. One of the big community complaints is that posts are not editable.

      I still maintain my account over on joindiaspora.com and I check it every day. I have meaningful and interesting discussions there on a regular basis. Interactions there seem much more thoughtful than on FB or Twitter. I have been thinking of signing up for Friendica just to compare them. Apparently Friendica is much more developed and feature-rich.

      Are you on a Diaspora* pod? There are lots of pods, find one and check it out.

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