The Promise of Diaspora: The Future of Social Networks

Diaspora was introduced to most as an idea that was to be the open source, privacy focused alternative to Facebook via Kickstarter in 2010. That’s how I learned of it and originally that’s what I expected it to be. Now that the dream is in alpha reality and I have joined the network I can tell you that Diaspora is not exactly an alternative to Facebook (although for some it is). What I’ve come to realize is that Diaspora represents the future of social networking.

Diaspora doesn’t have the luxury of humble beginnings like the great open source success of WordPress. There are too many people who simultaneously love social networking and hate Facebook for Diaspora to evolve slowly and organically. The pressure for features will come from this group. However the most important task Diaspora has ahead of it is to become a connector between social networking sites. Continue reading The Promise of Diaspora: The Future of Social Networks

Social Fatigue: How Google+ could dilute social. The return of the niche.

With the hype of Google+ fading we should brace ourselves for it to renew itself when the product officially launches. I’ve been critical of Google’s lack of design as a source of many of its product failures. It seems that they have invested more deeply in visual design for Google+ although I remain unimpressed by much of their infrastructure design. The array of Google apps seems like a messy afterthought. I don’t mean that they’re bad products but the compounding of them and the assumption that everyone will find them useful feels like an even more convoluted version of Microsoft’s mess of business applications. (Note the tangent, let’s move on.)

The tidal wave of techies declaring Facebook and Twitter as defeated by Google+ only highlights that many people just didn’t like these services all that much. I too think G+ does a lot of things better than the aforementioned. The problem for me at the moment is that it won’t replace either Facebook or Twitter. While I do feel Facebook is stagnant it also represents connections with real people I know. I always thought this was the true value purpose of Facebook and I’ve rarely ever friended anyone I haven’t actually met face to face. Twitter in conjunction with the Flipboard iPad app has made Twitter really work for me in terms of consumption. Google+ has devised a way to have the best of real friends and real interests. Both Twitter and Facebook already had these capabilities yet Google takes a rare win for design in making Circles of who you’re following their main differentiation. Even so I now have 3 social networking services open daily. The end result is that I just look at Facebook and Twitter a little less. Continue reading Social Fatigue: How Google+ could dilute social. The return of the niche.