Community outreach initiative proposal

From diaspora* project wiki

This proposal is currently in rough-draft form and is being put together. Feel free to offer any input in the discourse discussion.

The scope of this document is to propose several avenues for community outreach, with a unified message and approach. There are several unique groups of people that fit the scope of our audience, and we need to think about message we want to convey, and how we reach out to them.

The Message

User privacy and control is important, so much so that you need to really think about the social networks that you're on every day. When you're on a network like Facebook or Twitter, you're agreeing to give those companies your data. Every post, picture, and interaction you make belongs on someone else's server, and more often than not, you have little say over how such companies get to use all that data that they store.

Decentralized social networking is about getting away from these centralized models, so that you can continue to be social online with your friends, but not have to deal with the middleman handling all your data. Decentralized social isn't just about privacy; it's about having control over what people can see about the things you post.


We could set up a number of campaigns to raise awareness about the current items of focus in our Media Links, which includes topics such as Intellectual Property, Free Software, Creative Commons, and a number of others. These campaigns would span different social networking platforms to better inform users of what's going on with decentralized social, where the tech is at.

Audiences and Appealing to Them

As with any outreach initiative, we need to think about how Diaspora can appeal to different people. This section is about the kinds of appeal that these different groups of people might find in Diaspora.

End Users

Appealing to End Users

Problems with Current Services

Some End Users are motivated to consider alternatives when they have problems with their current social networking services:

  • Service outage
  • Security breach
  • Privacy violations
  • Predatory marketing of/to End Users
  • Onerous changes in Terms of Service
"Celebrity Endorsements"

Solicit mentions from public figures who share the ideals of the diaspora* project.


  • Russell Brand
  • Stephen Fry



Social Networks

Our project has a number of accounts on different services to help promote itself to people that may never have tried it before. As such, we can use these accounts to not only help promote the project and keep followers up to date on news and progress, but we can also


Follow us on Twitter

Twitter is mostly useful for short bursts of messages. It’s where hashtags and link-spam prevails. But at the same time, it’s useful for trending content. Good Twitter engagement involves following hashtags and directly responding to people. Not just responding to your mentions, either. Respond to all sorts of people with clear, concise messages. Talk about anything, be diverse, and most importantly, learn how to stuff witty phrases into 140 chars.

Follow us on or join our group. is similar in functionality to Twitter, but has a vastly different userbase. This includes:

  • People already familiar with the concept of decentralization.
  • Free Software users and advocates
  • Developers / Hackers / Sysadmins

As such, has a unique community that is more personal to FOSS than what a site like Twitter offers. It's an opportunity to engage people that similarly support what we're already representing.

An additional feature of (and other StatusNet instances) is their use of groups. You can mention an entire group by using the bang syntax; all you have to do is use an exclamation point to the group name in a status message. For example, "!diaspora" sends the message to everyone in the Diaspora group. As an aside, you can only mention a group that you're already a part of.


Like us on Facebook

Facebook has a wide range of types of users that populate it. Rather than sum up all the different types of people that use it, we can narrow things down to the following of people already following the Diaspora Facebook page.

  • Social Activists
  • Occupy supporters
  • Privacy advocates
  • Average joes that checked in on the project a long time ago.

The approach for engagement here needs to be conversational. Country Time Lemonade, Oreo, and are all examples of really great brand engagement. The pages are full of posts that are fun, maybe a little quirky, but more importantly, they're interesting enough to cause a person to pause and actually pay attention to it.


Share with us on Diaspora.

Diaspora has a mixed community brought together by our common interests in having "Something Else" as far as user privacy, data ownership, and decentralized social networking are concerned. As such, the users on Diaspora can be thought of as a combination of users from the above social network.

Social media on Diaspora requires a bit of a different approach to engaging users: we can posts simple and to-the-point like we do on Facebook, but we have the added bonus of being able to hashtag topic points. Users are encouraged to follow these tags as well:

  • #diaspora
  • #diaspora-packaging
  • #community
  • #dev