Diaspora set to take on Facebook

diasporaDiaspora is a personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open-source social network. Did you get all that? The new Diaspora project, headed by four ambitious NYU computer science students, is set to take the internet world by storm. The concept is simple enough (much like all great inventions); Create a social network that is truly private and secure. Why send your updates a to a central hub to be dispersed to all your friends and connections when you can simply connect directly to your friends. This creates a more secure and private connection.

This project has been dubbed the “anti-facebook” purely because it is a private, open-source social network that puts you in control of your personal data. The idea of Diaspora was conceived when the four  NYU students, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy spent time building a Makerbot (a type of web robot). They started discussing the possibilities of a distributed social network and hence, Diaspora was born.


We already have a rudimentary prototype of Diaspora running on our machines, and are working like mad to make it all we can be. Our current implementations include PGP encryption, scraping Twitter and Flickr, awesome design aesthetics, and the initial stages of connection infrastructure (“friending” other Diaspora instances).

Although Diaspora hasn’t yet been completely developed, the concept and a simple working model has been completed (Not yet available to the public). This is due to a lack of funds which I believe they have now managed to source. The exciting thing about this project is the fact that they are going to release the software under the aGPL open-source software license.  I cant wait to get my hands on this!

It is our one and only goal to get Diaspora in the hands of every man, woman, and child at summer’s end. September 2010 will signify the release of the project in its first iteration, fully open-sourced under the GPL. This release will be comprised of several key features for Diaspora, mainly:

  • Full-fledged communications between Seeds (Diaspora instances)
  • Complete PGP encryption
  • External Service Scraping of most major services (reclaim your data)
  • Public GitHub repository of all Diaspora code
  • Version 1 of Diaspora’s API with documentation

Once Diaspora has been set up, the software can aggregate your information such as tweets, RSS feeds, photos, etc. When you decide to “friend” another user online, you’ll actually connect directly to that user. This eliminates the need for a central server and therefore eliminates most security risks involved with that process. You and your friends can then share information privately with each other using PGP encryption.

Personally, I reckon this is going to revolutionize the way we connect socially online. I have been constantly trying to think of the “new social media” and it seems these guys have beat me to it.

For more information on this project, go to http://joindiaspora.com. Also, have a look at the blog for updates.

Diaspora: Personally Controlled, Do-It-All, Distributed Open-Source Social Network from daniel grippi on Vimeo.

About the Author:

Nick is the owner of Code Cabin, founder of PingPong and co-founder of AirWeddings. He has an extensive history in programming and digital marketing and has worked on some of the largest online websites in South Africa. Nick shares his knowledge and insight on his personal blog, nickduncan.co.za.

NickDuncan – who has written posts on Nick Duncan.

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3 Responses to “Diaspora set to take on Facebook”

  1. WoganNo Gravatar May 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I’ll point this out again – they’re not the first. http://noserub.com
    Maybe the Internet will come full circle, with people creating physically separate communities, like the BBSes of old. I can totally imagine the Cheezburger Network, for instance, creating a supersite that merges all of their sub-blogs into a master community. Better way to market to their audience.
    Facebook has managed to mainstream social media, but its monolithic approach and daunting privacy issues are starting to catch up. As well as the fact that the company is basically run by a college dropout, with fairly immature views on privacy.
    ~ Wogan

  2. NickDuncanNo Gravatar May 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Thanks for that link Wogan, very interesting..! I’ll look into it


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    [...] my personal information and pictures stored on a central server. I am however, waiting for the Diaspora launch which is rapidly growing in popularity. If Google can come up with something as secure and [...]

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