Recently I have been looking into alternatives for the microblogging service Twitter. I was a huge Twitter fan until lately Twitter has shown its evil side by basically telling 3rd party client developers that they are not needed anymore.
The first service I checked out was identi.ca. Identi.ca is powered by the open-source Status.net software and has many similarities with Twitter. If you have been using Twitter for a while you’ll feel right at home there. One additional feature I really like are groups. You can create groups and when you write a status update with !groupname in it, the message gets send to the group, too. There are already thousands of groups on identi.ca and quite a few are very active, like the linux, ubuntu and gnu groups.
I have been using Google Buzz for a while now, but for some reason I am still not really comfortable with it. Usually I am a great fan of Google’s services but I have a hard time getting into Buzz. One reason might be the fact that Buzz is integrated with Gmail. I would prefer a standalone Buzz site. Finding people to follow etc. also seems to be much easier in other services, but perhaps that’s just me. Buzz may be a good alternative to Twitter if there was a standalone web app and some user interface improvements to make it more accessible.
Last week I got an invitation to try out Diaspora*, an open-source social network which can be described as the Anti-Facebook. In Diaspora everything is private by default and you decide who of your friends can see a certain update and who doesn’t. The project is currently in its Alpha phase and changes and updates are made on a daily basis. I have to admit I like Diaspora a lot. Of course it’s too early to judge it, but I think it shows a lot of promise. Diaspora could definitely replace Facebook for me when it’s finally opened for the public.
There are still a couple of microblogging services I haven’t tried out yet. Google’s Jaiku looks nice but it is not using a Google account and I fear it might be abandoned at some point in the future. Posterous has some nice features and I have been using Posterous Groups for a while, but it’s not exactly what I have been looking for. It is more like a regular blog hosting service instead of a Twitter alternative. Tumblr might be worth a look, too.
For the time being, I will probably stay on Twitter (and Facebook) for a while longer while I experiment with identi.ca, Diaspora and Buzz. What microblogging and social network sites aside from Twitter and Facebook are you using and why? Every comment is highly appreciated!