Introduction

This is a stub which, realistically, may never be expanded to a full article. Depending.

Diaspora* is an internet social media service which originally was designed more to address what people do not want in a social network than what people do want. However, in my opinion, it offers enough of what people do want from a social network to warrant interest.

What it is not

Diaspora social media is not:

  • Commercially-driven and closed-licensed – restrictive commercial licenses, where one or few organizations profit from the service, by nature create a conflict of interest between securing user data (and privacy) vs. exploiting user data for money from advertising, etc.
  • Centralized – centralized services run higher risks of user security breaches from hackers or “insider” attacks.
  • Closed-source – when source code is unavailable for public scrutiny, ill-willed interests or developers may be tempted to abuse the technology infrastructure for their own gain, because “no one will know.”
  • “Walled” – the “walled-garden” criticism of many social media services centers on the fact that services may be designed to keep users dependent on the system, which can conflict with good will towards what users want vs. what the administrators want; data may also be designed to stay in one place and not allow users to easily migrate their data.

What it is

Diaspora* social media is:

  • User-driven and openly licensed – there is not any conflicted interest in user data security vs. profit motives – the fundamental motive in the development of the service is the pure joy of creating something that users want, in a way that anyone can participate in (because the open license allows any programmer to contribute).
  • Open-source – the source code is publicly available, and Diaspora* may be installed, modified and used by anyone for any purpose that suits the open license. Anyone skilled enough to navigate the source code can verify that there is no mystery about what happens with user data.
  • Decentralized and federated – the network as a whole is virtually fail-proof, because the service is distributed across as many servers (here, “pods”) as are willing to participate. This fundamental design consideration naturally discourages unnecessary “walls” around user experience or user portability. In fact, any user may (I believe?) migrate their account from one Diaspora* “pod” to another, no questions asked. What does “Federated” mean here? That bears explanation which this first draft does not provide.
  • Open to “fallback” to other social networks – any Diaspora* post can be seamlessly “syndicated” to other social media networks.

Here's my page of broader philosophical ranting about social media.

Notes and Quirks about Use

My notes from my own personal use:

If it may be likely that you'll want to edit the content and/or privacy of Diaspora* post after you publish it, you'll want to be scrupulous about making sure your post is in an absolutely final form, and also that you have the privacy of the post correctly set, before you publish the post.

Why? Presently (and this will change), Diaspora* post contents and privacy settings may not be edited after a post is published. The only way to presently correct posts is to delete and re-post a corrected one. This may frustrate you any time that you intend to make a post completely public, but you forget to mark it public–because the default post privacy setting is “All aspects.” “Aspects” are your own categorized whitelists of who can see what. However, a “Public” privacy setting essentially means “ignore all Aspects,” so that the only way to make an already published post “Public” is to delete it and re-publish it as “Public.”

These problems arise as a natural difficulty of the federated design of Diaspora, but (from what I've been able to find), the programmers of Diaspora intend to eventually provide the ability to change the content and/or privacy of published posts after they are published.

Further reading: FAQ for new usersWikipedia articleThe Diaspora Project homepage – the diaspora "pod" which I use (at this writing, anyway–my Diaspora* handle is earthbound@libertypod.org).

A Personal Note

If you read my afore-linked philosophical rant about social media, what sacrifice would I suggest to get your leopard spots, so to speak? Find a way to contribute to Diaspora, either by programming for it, or donating money to developers of it. No, I don't have any affiliation with the Diaspora Foundation. But folks like them code strictly for freedom, so-to-speak–code by users, for users. At this writing, too much else is coded by coders coding for corporations paid for by advertisers. And heck yes, in my opinion, there isn't enough check on the power of the latter. They deserve what they've gotten for the innovations they've contributed, but I strongly suspect that they are stagnated by a lack of innovative competition–competition coming from sectors that are more able to innovate in other ways–those who are coding for (and investing in) open-source, federated social media.

 
 /home2/ussinsor/public_html/earthbound-io/wiki/data/pages/diaspora.txt · Last modified: 2014/06/04 22:51 (external edit)
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