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Open Source social network, Diaspora, begins private alpha

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Diaspora is an open-source project that is using Ruby on Rails to build a social network that focuses on user privacy. As announced today on its blog, Diaspora will begin sending out invites for users to test their private alpha, starting with Kickstarter backers and then those on its email list.

“We are proud of where Diaspora is right now. In less than five months, we’ve gone from nothing to a great starting point from which the community can keep working. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how people can share in a private way, and still do all the things people love to do on social networks. We hope you’ll find it fun to use and a great way to keep in touch with all the people in your life.”

Diaspora is designed to help you decide which information to share with whom and has created the notion of “aspects” to help users separate out friend lists and corresponding levels of profile openness or privacy. The group explains:

“Diaspora lets you create “aspects,” which are personal lists that let you group people according to the roles they play in your life. We think that aspects are a simple, straightforward, lightweight way to make it really clear who is receiving your posts and who you are receiving posts from. It isn’t perfect, but the best way to improve is to get it into your hands and listen closely to your response.”

The team has a long way to go and several more features to implement before making Diaspora publicly available. If you would like to help Diaspora get off the ground, you can find more information on their website.