There are many compelling reasons to part ways with facebook. For me, the key to moving on was finding a decentralized, non-commercial, but feature rich alternative. What I found is not only a social network, but an interoperable federation of decentralized, non-commercial social networks – each running on open source (non-proprietary) software platforms.
Of these federated alternative social network options, I chose to give diaspora* a try. It works with a simple desktop or mobile web browser, while allowing me to choose from a selection of pods determining the location where my posted data is stored and the diaspora* features it supports.
If this interests you as an alternative to the data-mining activities of proprietary social networks, join me! Bear in mind that your diaspora* stream (what FB would call your “news feed”) is entirely depending on the hash tags you choose to follow. Unlike corporate data miners, diaspora* doesn’t have a proprietary algorithm to learn your habits interests and how best to target ads for maximum impact. My list of tags grows monthly. As it does, my stream populates accordingly. #newhere is a good one to start with as it will stream introductory posts from new users sharing a few words about why they’ve joined diaspora* (or one of the other federated networks).
Shortcomings? The bulk of the criticisms I’ve read from people disappointed with their initial diaspora* experience relate to expectations based on their facebook experience, and their perceptions of diaspora*’s viability as an alternative to the facebook experience they’ve grown so accustomed to. If they don’t immediately find all their friends on diaspora* and a fully populated content feed they declare the experience a failure. If you think back to when you first joined facebook, you may remember how your connections on that social network also grew slowly over time. The key to finding interesting content on diaspora* is all about growing the hash tags you follow, targeting the streamed content you want see. It’s like day one on facebook, but with you in the drivers’ seat on a platform that respects your rights to privacy!