There are many compelling reasons to part ways with Facebook. The key to pulling the trigger was finding a decentralized, non-commercial, but feature rich alternative online social network. What I stumbled on is actually an interoperable federation of online social networks that meet those criteria.
Of these non-proprietary federated social network options, I chose to give diaspora* a try, since it works with a simple desktop or mobile web browser ( as opposed to running or hosting peer to peer applications), 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!
If you do, it’s important to bear in mind that your diaspora* stream (what FB would call your “news feed”) is entirely dependent on which hash tags you’ve chosen to follow. There is no proprietary algorithm that learns your interests and how to target your attention. My list of followed tags grows weekly, and 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). The bulk of the criticisms I’ve read from people disappointed with their initial diaspora* experience seem to relate to their perceptions of its viability as an alternative to facebook. Their expectation seems to be that you’ll immediately find all your friends there and find same sort of content in your feed – same as facebook. If you think back to when you first joined facebook, you may remember how your connections on that social network also slowly grew over time. The same will be true of diaspora* or any of its affiliated federation networks. The key to finding interesting content on diaspora* is all about the hash tags you follow.