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Remember Diaspora*?


No, the asterisk in the headline doesn't point down to a disclaimer at the bottom of this page. It's actually in the name of the latest Facebook challenger, this one grounded on two ideas: That users should be able to own the information they post to social networks, and that users should be able to segment audiences for their posts into unique channels (Diaspora* calls them "aspects").

Except for one major problem. In the months it's taken Diaspora (sorry, dropping the silly asterisk) to go from Kickstarter poster child to a real live product - a huge batch of invites to the service went out last week - Google+ has pretty much taken care of the audience segmentation problem with its Circles. Or more to the point, Facebook took cues from Google+ Circles and spiffed up their friends list functionality somewhat. As for owning your own information, while that's still a tricky issue with Facebook (here's a nice explanation of how intellectual property rights interlock with Facebook TOS), this spring's status-post memefest of "Facebook owns your photos!" has largely died down.

In other words, there may not be any room left in our social landscape for Diaspora. Which is a shame in some ways, because it's a beautiful site. Check it out:

The interface is clean and easy to use, doesn't carry any ads (yet), and unlike Google+ or Facebook, has built-in support for hashtags - allowing you to discover people based on shared interests, not just shared geography or social groups. You can follow tags just like you can follow individuals, leading to a user experience that's personalized by interests as well as by social connections. It's a fantastic idea ... with no content. In fact, you can almost hear #crickets singing in Diaspora's vacant corners right now.

So is this a case of Diaspora throwing a magnificent party, but no one coming? Perhaps. If nothing else, it's a compelling illustration of how it's going to take more than just a single killer feature to draw people away from Facebook - let alone pry early adopters away from Google+.

Are you on Diaspora yet? Connect with me - I'd love to hear what you think of the new service. Or just leave a comment below.


Krassmus 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, there is a party going on, hehe. I have 52 contacts there and I have met 40 of them in Diaspora. That's amazing. In comparison with facebook - well, I found noone there that hasn't been my friend before. And if Diaspora is still too still for you, follow some #hastags so that the postings appear in your stream..

By the way: there is one more thing that makes Diaspora the best social network. And this is the combination of encryption of private information and the federated network. Both go hand in hand. When you post something in Diaspora that is not public, it will be encrypted with the same techniques, you use for online banking. With other words: your private information are so much safe, that even your admins of your pod (server) can't see, what you were posting.

You can find me as Krassmus@diasp.de

Jessica Schilling 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for your comment! When I tried to find you on Diaspora, the site was down - as it's been the last five or six times I've tried to access it. Waiting to see how it all shakes out so I can play with it some more!

Jessica Schilling 6 years, 7 months ago

Also, news outlets are reporting today that one of Diaspora's co-founders, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, died Saturday. Cause of death is yet unknown, and the service is continuing to send out alpha invites.


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