ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Look At The Diaspora Social Network

Updated on November 14, 2011

The Diaspora Social Network

Diaspora is an open-source alternative to Facebook (with, rather amazingly, some solid donations from Mark Zuckerberg himself!) that is currently in it's alpha stage of development.

The project rode the wave of the Facebook privacy crisis during the chafing summer of 2010, and sought to address issues such as transparency by offering an open-source framework. As the criticism and negativity regarding Facebook's privacy woes began to dim a little in the public eye, and critics began to take swipes at Diaspora's primitive framework, our budding social network began to lose some steam despite having reached almost $200k in funding.

What makes the Diaspora social network so promising and unique, is that unlike Google+ and Facebook, it is decentralized.


The term Diaspora refers to the scattering of people or cultures from their ancestral homeland. The reference is particularly apt given the decentralized framework of the platform itself.

A Decentralized Project

The Diaspora team call the project a "...privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network". The basic structural premise is as follows:

  • Instead of entrusting the entirety of your data to a corporation, users can host their own pods (servers) thereby taking full control of how their privacy is handled.
  • Think of Diaspora as a kind of p2p for social networking!
  • Giving users the ability to customize and refine their own pods (the project is open-source), come a tentative October initial release, we can expect a healthy growth of modifications and addons to start enticing users.
  • Selective privacy. Users will be able to control what gets shared with whom due to how the aspect system works (more on that later).

But Will It Work?

Despite addressing the growing concerns over centralizing private data, Diaspora has a number of ifs it needs to address, and in some cases, they are quite big ifs. Firstly, having to host your own server is expensive (and currently relatively complicated) and Internet users, thanks to services such as Google+ and Facebook have come to equate social networking with a freebie.

While for many, protecting their privacy will understandably come at a cost, I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of people will not. If the project is unable to entice a large quantity of people, people will stick with Facebook and co. simply because "hey, that's where everyone else is". I find it hard to blame them, a social network demands a large user-base.

My personal opinion is that the ongoing success of such a promising platform will depend largely on how the issue of hosting is simplified -- which leads to something of an ideological conundrum. If free hosts step-in to address these concerns, and services are offered to users to simplify establishing their new online presence, wouldn't the premise of a decentralized and corporate free platform be invalidated?

Technical Features And Aesthetics

Aesthetically speaking, Diaspora is a triumph of minimalism and strikes me immediately as the kind of social networking screen I could feast my eyes on indefinitely. Although bear in mind this is a primitive screenshot and things may change as final changes come closer to fruition.

A clean, minimal and high contrast design. Click to view full-sized image!
A clean, minimal and high contrast design. Click to view full-sized image! | Source

Diaspora's main feature list is as follows:

  1. Both private and real time sharing of photos and status messages.
  2. Other social networking integration (I foresee legal issues here, but perhaps that's because I'm inherently paranoid).
  3. A twitter style API.
  4. Spam prevention tools (finally!).
  5. Aspects: The flexibility in assigning people roles other than friends or family.
  6. Taggable photos.
  7. A behind the hood administrative interface!
  8. Third-party services integration.

For an ever-updating list of features make sure to check the official Diaspora features roadmap page.


I find Diaspora to be a dream social networking platform that I pessimistically worry will never quite find the popular footing it deserves. While I would love nothing more than seeing the Internet masses move forcefully towards this platform, it is still, as yet, a little to complex to expect a meaningful migration.

Come October, an initial candidate release may unveil some shockers, as the developers have pledged to listen attentively to the community. Only time will tell where the project goes from here, hopefully it isn't all that long.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I was hoping the open-source community would come up with something. As for any costs, I'd be willing to pay $10 a year for a better service. At a low price like that, if you could get 500,000 people from around the world to subscribe, it'd be well on its way.

  • profile image

    D user 

    9 years ago

    As a diaspora user, the tech is good, but the userbase is similar to an emo'ed MySpace which had left me not wanting to continue beta testing. It is riddled with teenage angst and lack of intellectual persuance.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    just read this week VILLAGE VOICE....

  • profile image

    V for Verdanna 

    9 years ago

    Yes there must be a viable and democratic to the Fakebook, but the real problem with Diaspora, and the uptake, is not the concept but it's name. Too many people the name suggests some water born tropical disease or a syndrome affecting special needs children. Not some easy word or term that bounces around in their head, or maks them want to be a part of. A name should shout what it is: What about CrowdSource, ClickNation, WebTribe or even OccupyTheInternet? Please, not a word that naturally goes with 'Appeal or 'Foundation.

  • Neocotez profile image


    9 years ago from Nigeria

    I knew facebook wont be much regarded in the near future...Nice work

  • pharmacist profile image

    Jason Poquette 

    9 years ago from Whitinsville, MA

    Never heard of this until now. I'll be looking forward to hearing how it develops. Hopefully more intuitive than Google Plus!

  • CZCZCZ profile image


    9 years ago from Oregon

    Diaspora has been stumbling along with product development for awhile it would be interesting if it would grow into something that could rival existing networks, but the facebook juggernaut will be hard to crack.

  • Grace Whites profile image

    Grace Whites 

    9 years ago from Manalapan, New Jersey, USA

    A new introduction of the software diaspora social network. Thanks for the informations, you had explained it well.

  • melbel profile image

    Melanie Shebel 

    9 years ago from Midwest, USA

    Diaspora is fantastic! Thank you so much for writing this and spreading the news. It's a shame about one of the founders. Great hub and rated up for spreading something awesome that's written in Ruby (my fave programming language.)

  • jonta profile image


    9 years ago from Bangkok

    Thanks for sharing this.. will definitely check it out. I think that Facebook is getting to much with all its features and stuff.

  • jaywigz311 profile image


    9 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Very interesting hub. I've always said that Facebook's days were numbered. Maybe this will be the next fad ... and then there will be another, and then another ...

  • profile image

    no one 

    9 years ago

    RIP Ilya Zhitomirskiy;you will be missed -so young and so much to offer

  • carol3san profile image

    Carolyn Sands 

    9 years ago from Hollywood Florida

    Great hub. It all sounds great...hope it works.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    9 years ago from Rome, Italy

    I attempted to answer that in the text capsule under the title definition, IEO. I find it is a good name.

  • profile image

    Indonesia Essential Oils 

    9 years ago

    It's interesting. Why do they choose diaspora as their network name?

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great explanation and good work

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    9 years ago from Rome, Italy

    The service itself is free Wanz

  • wanzulfikri profile image


    9 years ago from Malaysia

    Will it be a payed service? I hope not

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    A death is what brought me here! This site will boom- just wait and see

  • profile image


    9 years ago


  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    9 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Singh, you can sign up here:

  • profile image

    Randell G. 

    9 years ago


  • profile image


    9 years ago

    how do u sign up?

  • mr-burns profile image


    9 years ago

    Sounds interesting. I hadn't heard of it but I must give it a go. Thanks

  • NerdyWerds profile image


    9 years ago

    Thanks for the write up. I've become more than a bit frustrated with Facebook and am very much looking forward to checking this baby out.

  • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

    James Nelmondo 

    9 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Thanks guys (and gals), I adore the concept as well, let's hope it pans out!

  • jean2011 profile image


    9 years ago from Canada

    Sounds like Diaspora has some great features that could give some competitive advantage. I'll be interested to learn about this some more. I have voted your hub useful.

  • somethgblue profile image


    9 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

    Certainly and interesting concept, well worth exploring further, thanx for the heads up!


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)