Being a data protection friendly Facebook probably won’t be enough

(Foto: Diaspora dandy logo)

About a ayear ago four students from New York raised money via kickstarter to found a new decentralized open source social network called „Diaspora“. They wanted to collect 10.000 Dollar, but in the end they earned more than 200.000. Since last Autumn you can use Diaspora. But so far I’m somewhat disappointed.

In theory the idea of Diaspora is great. Its aim is to give users the control over their data back. Therefore it lets them set up their own personal servers („seeds“). But even if you just create a normal account and put your data on their servers Diaspora doesn’t own your pictures like Facebook does.

You can put your contacts in different categories (‚aspects‘) and you can decide which content you want to share with whom. Facebook offers lists to put people into categories, but at Diaspora this is by default. Plus it’s really easy to delete your account – try that on Facebook.

Last Autumn Diaspora introduced a private alpha version of the network. I think they made a mistake by going public in such an early stage. Many people expected a real Facebook alternative – but back then it wasn’t even possible to write private messages to your contacts. So I guess many people just had a look at it and rarely logged in again.

I have some 500 friends on Facebook and I follow about 450 accounts on Twitter. But I just have 13 contacts on Diaspora – and most of them aren’t writing anything. From time to time I come back to check whether anything is happening there. But normally it isn’t. So right now I am just waiting – waiting for more people to create an account and more features to be introduced.

Some weeks ago I was at a family celebration. It was the first time that even my aunts and uncles were talking about Facebook. Of course they were also talking about privacy, likejacking and so on. But this was another proof for me that Facebook really is mainstream. There are some 600 million people worldwide using it despite its lack of data protection friendlyness. And I am afraid they just won’t move to another social network because it is good to their data.

I guess Diaspora will have to come up with something new that gives people a reason to spend their time with it. I am curious whether co-founder Maxwell Salzberg can convince me today at the re-publica conference in Berlin that Diaspora really can become more than a social network for a niche.

If you want to connect with me via Diaspora: my user name is FelixHuegel. If you want to try out Diaspora: I have some invites left. Just write a comment.

Ein Kommentar

  1. „I just have 13 contacts on Diaspora – and most of them aren’t writing anything.“

    I guess this is just natural during alpha phase when people only come to Diaspora if they are invited. But you are absolutely right that making a copy of Facebook with less features won’t be enough.

    And yet, the fact that your data is safer, for many of us angsty Germans already is that feature we always wanted… 😉
    Just be patient.

    PS: If you have an invite left, maybe you could send it to me? 🙂

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