Four college students came together to create a social network that does not collect users’ personal data. They wanted to build something better than Facebook or an alternative to Facebook. They did end up building that site, but it’s by no means a rival to Facebook. That site is called Diaspora.
Author Jim Dwyer documents the start-up story in his latest book, “More Awesome Than Money.” He says that Diaspora is supposed to be a decentralized social network focused on privacy, while giving users the sense of connection they crave.
“What they did that was important — and will continue to be worked on — is to look for ways to keep the web a democratic institution where people have authentic control over what they share and who they share it with,” Dwyer says.
- Not compromise people’s privacy: What drove the project from the beginning was the idea that you didn’t really need to compromise your privacy to have a good social experience on the web.
- Keep it decentralized: The entire project of the web as invented was not intended to be in the hands of giant corporations. It was sort of a democratic, decentralized setup.
- Put control into the user’s hands: You can take your data off of Diaspora. Facebook now says you can take your data off of their servers although that takes a while and they don’t really want you to do that.
Why it didn’t succeed, as planned:
- It lacked organic networks: Users’ real life friends weren’t using it, that causes people to lose interest in using it.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.