Social networks in the enterprise


You can change your profile settings in Diaspora to suit your taste by clicking on your name in the upper right corner of the browser window and selecting the appropriate options in the menu. Diaspora offers various switches concerning privacy and security. However, some of these are somewhat illogically arranged in the menus, and you will sometimes have to search for them.

Among other things, the software offers the option to remove metadata from uploaded photos that would allow the user to be identified. You can also enable the NSFW option, which often refers to pornographic content that is "not suitable for the workplace."

Very detailed settings are available for email notifications – all enabled by default. If you use the network intensively, this can lead to a large amount of received email. It makes sense to limit the settings so that Diaspora only sends really important notifications.


Diaspora offers a very simple option for adding new contacts to your profile with the Contacts entry in the user menu. You can call up a list of all participants who share your interests by keyword and then add the desired contacts from the list by clicking on Add contact to add it to a group of communication partners. By default, Diaspora already has several groups, which it lists vertically in the dashboard on the left. The number of contacts is listed next to each one.

If you want to delete contacts from this list, you can do so with the use of groups. If you click on a group, its members appear on the right side of the window. Behind each contact is an x button to remove it. However, it does not disappear immediately: only after you open the list again (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Diaspora makes managing contacts very easy.

Server Installation

Diaspora can also be installed on a dedicated server, which turns it into a pod for public use. The developers do not envisage isolated in-house use (e.g., for a department or branch in a company) [5]. Nevertheless, the admin and the users of a pod can set up private groups that are not publicly accessible through profile settings.

The specified hardware requirements are 1.5GB of RAM, swap space of 1GB, and a multicore CPU. Sufficient mass storage must also be available, especially with frequent uploads of multimedia content.

The Diaspora website provides detailed information [6] on server installation for various Linux distributions. Because setting up your own pod is very complex because of the numerous requirements, an installation package is under development. However, it had not yet been released for production at the time this article was written. As far as possible, the developers try to support problems on their Freenode IRC channel.

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