In my continuing pursuit of ever more elusive online security and privacy, I'm revisiting my relationship with Diaspora*.
Diaspora* has the distinct benefit of being free and open source, with a focus on keeping your data yours. Its interface is clean and fast (like 'Ello, but with features!), and its distributed pod structure means that not only can't the whole network be killed by a DOS attack, but also that if you want complete control of your data, you can simply run your own pod on your own machine!
As a replacement for Facebook/Twitter/Google+, it's pretty great. It does everything any of them can do, plus there's this feature called 'aspects' (similar to Google+'s 'circles', but with a lot more granularity) that lets you organize your contacts in complex ways and exert detailed control over who will be shown each post you make. Diaspora* also lets you format your posts with markdown, meaning you can use it for basic blogging functions, which none of the other social networks do.
I'm trying to get the Diaspora* platform set up so that it will post directly to my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles, but I've also discovered that it has the ability to post to my WordPress blog as well! No luck with the Goog so far, but all the others seem to be up and running.
Diaspora*'s one major weakness seems to be that less than a million people use it, so far. If you want to reach a wide audience, you need to republish your Diaspora* posts to your other social media accounts. With luck, that will change sometime soon, but until then, it’s just something you have to live with…
My initial impression is that it's going to take some figuring and getting used to, but that it might just work!