Diaspora could open new social scene for business

Open-source social network project Diaspora could provide businesses with a platform for setting up private social networks

The code was released to the public for a new social network designed to deliver the benefits of Facebook without the privacy concerns. The project--called Diaspora--also has potential as a tool for businesses to create their own social networks, but its value depends on how businesses intend to use social networking.

It is little secret that Facebook is often the subject of privacy concerns. Every time Facebook introduces a new feature, or updates the functionality it seems to share information in new and nefarious ways that users feel they have little control over. Diaspora was born from that controversy with the tagline "The privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all, open source social network."

The originators of Diaspora feel they have taken the project as far as they can, stating in a blog post, "We began the summer a list of technologies, and a few bold claims and the goal to make an intrinsically more private social network. The overwhelming response that we elicited made us realize that technology woudn't be enough. Even the most powerful, granular set of dropdowns and checkboxes will never give people control over where their content is going, let alone give them ownership of their digital self."

So, now the Diaspora source code has been opened publicly to developers so that the next phase of Diaspora development can be a group effort defined by the community. When an open source community contributes and collaborates effectively, the resulting product can be amazing. However, no software or social network can be all things to all people, and regardless of the final Diaspora that results it has very little chance of ever really challenging Facebook.

However, the Diaspora project could prove useful in providing businesses with a framework for implementing proprietary, internal social networks. Essentially, businesses can take advantage of some of the features and functions of social networking to foster communication and enable more efficient collaboration among peers, teams and departments, but without the concerns of exposing sensitive or confidential data to half a billion other social networking users.

Similar to the way Jabber and Yammer have emerged as internal, proprietary instant messaging alternatives, Diaspora could allow businesses to set up proprietary, local social networks. Of course, the benefits of a private social network come with some downsides as well.

For example, "private social network" sounds like an oxymoron. It takes the social out of social networking, and removes the business from the opportunity to engage an audience and foster a sense of community with customers. In other words, a private social network loses the marketing and brand recognition potential of Facebook in exchange for more private and secure sharing of information within the company.

Diaspora claims that a goal of the initial release is Facebook integration. We don't yet know what that will look like or what sort of capabilities it might have, but perhaps it will enable a business to build an internal Diaspora social network, while maintaining a connection with the massive audience of the Facebook social network at the same time.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetFacebooksocial networksDiaspora

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?