Lately I’ve came across discussions and questions about the difference between Diaspora* and Friendica. So, after an earlier reply today describing when it’s worthwhile to use Friendica instead of Diaspora, I decided to expand on that post. On the surface both social networks look similar, they allow for blogging with a markup language to structure text, the interface shows similarities and they share most of the functionality. Although they were both released in 2010 Diaspora is much better known and has more users. So why use Friendica at all?
I therefore defined some typical use cases where Friendica could be beneficial:
- Being able to connect and communicate with contacts from various social networks of the Fediverse. Friendica supports different social networking protocols and federates with Mastodon, Diaspora* and Pleroma and others.
- Being able to automatically post from Friendica to several social networks (even non-federated and even to your WordPress blog) e.g. important for people that cast on multiple social networks at once. This service alone is one that some people are willing to pay for.
- Being able to follow and discuss certain hashtags over multiple social networks. See 1). Important if you don’t want to miss anything 😉
- To setup a forum for a certain purpose for multiple people to join.
- Being able to fine tune the Stream (/network in Friendica) in great detail e.g following a person but not on every topic, collapse all the images or collapse all reshares. I wrote an earlier blog post about this: http://homehack.nl/filtering-options-in-the-friendica-social-network/
There also features that Friendica is missing.
- A link to a website doesn’t show a preview on my current Friendica server squeet.me. This is for some people a very important feature that’s missing.
- The upload limit for a photo can be lower depending on the server. On the popular server squeet.me it is 781.25Kb this is way lower than the 4.2 Mb of Diaspora*. I guess the message is to carefully choose a server for your account.
All additional features of Friendica come at a price, complexity of the UI. This is I think the reason that Friendica is harder to master than Diaspora. Diaspora fulfills the needs of most people and the simplicity of the interface is in fact one of the strong suits of this social network. Friendica on the other hand is more for power users or people that absolutely need one of the use cases mentioned above.
Full disclosure I used both Friendica and Diaspora* and currently I don’t prefer one over the other.
EDIT 01-02-2020: Unfortunately the Diaspora* pod that I was on has seized to exist and I didn’t create an account on another pod since there is to much overlap with Friendica for me.
EDIT 18-11-2022: I wrote again about Friendica now comparing it with Mastodon: https://homehack.nl/when-to-use-friendica-over-mastodon/