Hello readers, fellow technophobes, and social network users! It has been a lonnnnng time since I’ve posted here. Frankly, it’s because I have had very little to write about! Between my ultra-awesome and almost totally trouble-free MX-Linux operating system working so well and with such reliability that it’s actually boring (which is a very good thing!), and my long hours at work, and other real life intrusions this time of year, I haven’t had much to write about that I haven’t already said. But with all the new scary stuff in the news about Big Tech companies spying on their users, data being stolen, and privacy becoming nearly non-existent for almost everyone connected to the Internet even without computers and cellphones (even your “smart” TV and home appliances spy on you now for goodnessakes), I wanted to inform my readers about a free and open source, privacy-respecting alternative to Google-Plus and Facebook that I’ve written about before (just search this blog under the tag, “Diaspora“), but have found some ways to make it work better for me after finding it so disappointing before. It’s those work-arounds that I want to share now, and explain why Diaspora is good alternative after all if you’re willing to give it time to become what you need it to be.
That is the main thing: Diaspora takes time to become what you want it to be. Just like a newly-installed operating system takes time to discover and to customize with the most suitable settings, applications, and tools, so too with the federated social networks. Diaspora is the best of these in my opinion because the interface is more intuitive and customizable.
Diaspora still attracts a lot of anarchists, Leftists, tech nerds, and even some Nazis and creepy deviants. That’s because most of it’s pods are un-moderated, un-censored islands of free speech without the algorithms and agendas of the Big Companies. The price of freedom includes others’ freedom to be leftist, fascist, Nazi, deviant anarchists. But a lot more of us conservative, Christian, family-values type people are also fleeing to Diaspora from Fakebook and Google than ever before as well. A whole lot more! Surprisingly, I’ve found quite a few and added them to my Apects (kinda like “friends” on Facebook), and our numbers continue to grow on Diaspora as we are being systematically excluded from the big centralized online networks. The secret is taking the time to identify them, add (or follow) them, and to filter out the wolves in sheep’s clothing that appear Christian at first but promote antisemitism, racism, anarchy, or some weird heterodoxy. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest, y’know.
Start by following tags (hashtags), but then start following people who write good stuff on that subject. If you follow #Christian, #Christianity, #Christ, #bible, and #church, for example, you’ll find some posts from people who hate Christ and write really awful, bitter stuff on those subjects. You’re following those hashtags, so you see it all, both the good and the bad. Now comes the cool part. You can ignore the haters and prevent them from commenting on your own posts using the Ignore button. Don’t stop following the tags, because you’ll want to share with other users who share good stuff. Discovering and Ignoring the haters and mockers is a little painful and might have you thinking of giving up on Diaspora, as I have done twice before. But there’s a baby in that bathwater! And don’t forget why you went looking for an alternative to Fakebook in the first place (privacy, ownership of your own data and intellectual property, etc and etc). There are bullies wherever free speech is permitted. Don’t be a snowflake. Or if you’re going to be one, then stay in your “safe space” and cry me a river. And here, take this special snowflake patch and sew it on your varsity letter sweater.
After some time, you’ll have gathered some people to follow and share with who share your values and appreciate the same things you do. It’s helpful if you can bring some family and friends with you to Diaspora, but they need to know this stuff going in or they will do what I did with my first couple of accounts there: Close them or abandon them, and write Diaspora off as a haven for only those who don’t share your interests and values. It isn’t true, but discovering and sharing with them takes more time than many people are willing to invest. It’s well worth the time it takes to make Diaspora what you need and want it to be. If you get discouraged along the way during the process, remember why you began this journey to begin with! Privacy, respect for your ownership of your own intellectual property, and the same unmitigated freedom that those who don’t share your values enjoy. It’s increasingly harder and harder to find on the big corporate social media providers.