DIASPORA* grows up.

TL;DR: Our next design push is geared towards making the things our crazy awesome international community is already doing easier, more useful, and fun.


Ahoy!

We have been learning a lot by watching the Diaspora* develop and grow. Diaspora* has evolved into a social community unlike any other, where free thinkers from around the world interact. It provides a vehicle for all sorts of different kinds of people to share ideas and form new relationships. This is what’s happening on Diaspora* right now. It is what makes it unique, and it is what the core team is trying to optimize for.

A lot of the early thinking about Diaspora* – both in the press, and our own – defined it in juxtaposition to existing social networks. But we’ve come to learn that it is something quite different. The interactions on other networks are built around the assumption that you are addressing people you actually know – your ‘friends’, or people who are interested in everything you say – your ‘audience’. Something entirely different is happening on Diaspora*, and that’s why the metaphors from those networks don’t fit.

A diverse, international community of people meeting and discussing all sorts of things needs to be thought about differently. Rather than just being  a digital construction of the world around you, Diaspora* is about reaching to new places and discovering people from all over the globe. We are trying to promote raw and authentic conversations in a way the world has never seen.

We have developed some theories around how and why people interact on Diaspora*, and some hypotheses around how we can improve these experiences. We are planning to try to help Diaspora* be its unique self, by testing our hypotheses, which means changing a few key interactions.

We have seen people participate in longer-form discussions with people all over the globe. At a high level, our plan is to make it easy to keep track of these discussions, and keep them going longer in a more interesting way.

You may have noticed some changes in verbiage around the site.

We are refocusing around a new design metaphor – conversation. To help these conversations grow and evolve, we want to distance ourselves from messages with short ‘half lives,’ and make it easier for people to communicate with each other in more meaningful ways. That may seem abstract now, but over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out changes which we hope will support these goals. If our ideas work, we’ll build on them. If they don’t, we’ll look for another path.

Diaspora is still in alpha. Now is certainly the best time to be doing these experiments.  Since the start of the year, we have been focused on some back end changes so we can worry less about uptime, and focus more on designing the future of our social web.  For example, we have improved the average response time of Diaspora* 10-fold. We now have a solid foundation to stand on, so we can work on making something the world really needs.

We are totally stoked to have you with us at these exciting times.We feel strongly that you will see how awesome it is, and we’re grateful to have you with us to help us iron out the kinks. After a few months of iterating, we can open up to the world (Beta!). We are glad to be in a place where we can take risks as we discover the best path to walk.

If you think that Diaspora* is awesome, we hope you enjoy these experiments. We look forward to seeing all the awesome things you do that make Diaspora* a party like no other.

Thanks for being part of it!

Dennis, Daniel, Sarah, Sean, Rosanna & Maxwell