Diaspora - an Open Source Social Network

Social Networking has revolutionized the way we communicate in today’s fast paced world. With more and more people with constant access to the internet, nearly everyone you know has an account with popular networking sites - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. It has become a way of life today and makes for easy sharing and communication between friends and relatives.

Many start-ups and businesses are trying to make effective use of these sites to grow their ventures. And, hence they are everywhere. And, if you are not tired or bored of the number of networking sites available today, here comes the news of the launch of another site claiming it to be an open source social network - Diaspora. Most people are not aware of it, but it has created a buzz in and around the social media and early adopters.

Diaspora is an open source and distributed social web (network) as it has no central control. It has multiple nets calling themselves as Seeds. People behind this interesting venture area team of four students from NYU’s Courant Institute aiming to address the privacy issues concerned with Facebook and the way it handles user information. Facebook has been facing criticism from its users over the Privacy row making its users share information even with people they just know. This made these young students to come up with an idea to deal with the privacy concerns you face with Facebook.

With Diaspora, one can decide what they would like to share and with whom. One can maintain full ownership of everything they share (messages, photos, profile details) on Diaspora, the users are in full control. Since it is an open source project, available only in alpha and invite-only. Moreover, it is not a company or a person owning this site. The team has made use of the fund-raising online site Kickstarter to raise the money to fund their project. Initially it had aimed to reach $10,000 to start the venture but ended up with $200,642 from 6,500 people. Interestingly, reports say that Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has also made a contribution to this venture and has contacted the project as well.

Diaspora has no intentions to give way to any of the marketing techniques / advertising on its site. It claims itself to be a people’s network and not developed for the commercial means. It describes itself as privacy-aware, personally controlled social network. Well, this remains a question and could change in the future.

It’s alpha version has basic functionalities to share status messages, sharing photos, search people over the web no matter where your Diaspora seed (server) is located, managing friends through aspects (similar to Google+ circles). It intends to roll out more number of features (Data portability is something to look out for) with its beta version soon. Though it has similar features like the ones in other social networks and is privacy aware network compared to other social networks, it claims to be no competition/rivals to any of these networks.Though it has given a thought to give more power to the user and his/her privacy, it is slowly moving forward and still reinventing itself. Let us all hope for its bright future as it is a bit early to judge.