An Intro to Diaspora

originally from my blog at LiveJournal

I joined Diaspora a few years ago, in 2011. I had migrated to G+ when it came out and shortly afterward the #nymwars started up. Many people were unhappy that Google was forcing ‘real names’ onto people. Many bloggers, and people who were known primarliy by nicknames had their accounts shut down.
Meanwhile, a group of young men from NYU were already working on something amazing that people had heard about but weren’t quite sure how to join.
People were’t familiar with this ‘decentralized’ thing. And admittedly most people who wanted to own their content and have better privacy etc weren’t tech savvy enough to start their own ‘pod’ of Diaspora. All pods interconnect with one another, and many pods started up as a group effort for a few friends to run their own, but some big pods started up also. Diasp.org, Poddery.com and others. These were open to the public to join. Diaspora had their own as well called joindiaspora.com , however it proved to take a very long time to get an invite to, 1) because of the sheer volume of people wanting to join and 2) the team wanting a full stability at their end before letting everyone in. These other pods took off the load from that.
The downside however was that people waiting on an invite from JoinDiaspora didn’t necessarily know about all the other pods unless they were following the Diaspora project. In reality, what the largest percentage of the population did was request an invite and then just wait (and eventually forget). As time passed, they assumed Diaspora never happened. I still meet people that say “hm, I wonder what ever happened to Diaspora?”
Luckily there was a vast number of people following the progress quite closely and the ability to join other pods rather than wait on the core pod to get all the invites out became much more common knowledge during the #nymwars of Google +.
I came across a conversation on Google+ about Diaspora. People were talking about migrating there, my first thoughts:
What? It IS finished? How can I get an account? Where do i find information?
As is normally the way on social networks, info suddenly made it’s way round. Especially because so many people wanted to leave G+ and Facebook. That desire to avoid data mining and own content , especially while under the threat of having your account shut down due to one’s name not being ‘Real Enough’ was enough to get people looking into the status of the Diaspora they had heard about.
In the beginning Diaspora was wonky.
It has ALWAYS been a community project (much more so now) , and the boys from NYU were working 24/7 to get this stable for the people that were flocking to it.

People have a sense of ‘entitlement’, and even though something is free (TRULY free) and being offered to them out of a labour of love, there are still bound to be complaints and demands. Such was the way.
Regardless, Diaspora continued to grow.
Then, the unthinkable happened

Ilya took his own life. One of the Diaspora founders.
I won’t get into it here. This post isn’t about that. It can be read about here. But there is no shortage of grief still to this day. Most of the community suddenly really REALIZED – these are people. These Founders (like of any project) are people. As grief hit the community, I think too a sense of bonding began to grow. I know that I still feel very close to all those initial friends I made there, even those whom I often disagreed with.
As time passed I spent more time in Virtual Worlds, mainly Inworldz , and only spent time on social networking sites sporadically. I also began blogging more about my own personal internal journey with various things. I still logged into Diaspora, still checked in with friends, but wasn’t as active.
Then Ello came on the scene. The hype of this seemingly ‘grassroots’ type of project, and its claim of privacy, no datamining etc intrigued me. I joined to see how it compared with Diaspora. Whereas the news had been calling the Diaspora founders ‘Geeky, Nerds’ etc and almost mocking their attempts, Ello was the ultimate Hipster’s dream. Pretty, retro, minimalist . Actually, the clean interface reminded me a lot of Diaspora. However Ello, at the time of my last use of it (yesterday Sept. 26th) is dysfunctional. You’d think with a Venture Capital investment it would at least have a proper search function, or reshare. Or notifications?
nope.
Of course no one realized right away about the VC investment. Full story on what Ello really is:
https://aralbalkan.com/notes/ello-goodbye/
That’s all the time I’lll waste talking about Ello, except to mention that what got me on my Diaspora rant was coming across the same ignorance as before, but ON Ello. “Hm, I wonder if Ello is going to go the way of Diaspora?” “Will Ello succeed? Or fail, like Diaspora?” I corrected a few of those misconceptions and although my comments had 50-75+ views, no one responded.
So.
On Diaspora the past few days I have seen many new people, possibly due to the fact that people remember Diaspora now. Possibly due to the fact that they realize there is an actual TRULY free (and decentralized) option to Facebook, Google+ and , of course Ello.
So I decided to add some screenshots with some getting started tips.
1. When you join, make a NewHere post. The registration process is very simple and directs you into a good ‘Getting Started’, but I don’t think people realize how important that first post is. We follow tags at Diaspora. When anyone posts a public post with tags that I follow in it, that post gets into my Stream. Likewise, I also check JUST my tags to see what’s going on there. If you don’t have friends, and are posting privately, or without tags… no one is going to see your post
DiasporaStreaminst
As you can see above, this new member made a public post, used the NewHere tag as well as others to show interests. Because I follow NewHere, it arrived in my feed.

You can search topics in the Search bar, add a ‘#’ directly infront of the word you are searching.
diasporasearchwithtag
Along the side you can see others who share that interest/follow the tag, and of course you see the most recen posts about that topic.
There is the option on the page to Follow that tag (see above the space to enter text)  and/or post directly onto that tag page about the topic.
Once you have your followed tags, you can click them from your sidebar and just see what’s going on in the topics of your choice.

diasporataginst

To search for a person instead of a tag/topic, simply put the person’s name into the search window with no ‘#’
Diasporsearchnameinstr
And there,I found Leanna <3

Now along your sidebar, you can choose to look at indivdual tags, and you can also choose which aspects you want to see. I can choose just Friends and see just their content, and likewise the text/posting box on that page will by default ONLY go to friends.
If you Select All of your aspects then that will be the default destination of your posts. Be sure to choose ‘public’ below your text box however if you aren new and wanting to meet people via your tagged post.

diasporaaspectsinst

Now, this hasn’t been an extensive ‘how to’, but more of an overview.
If you’d like to join diaspora, there is a list of pods that indicates if they are open or closed at http://podupti.me, run by diasp.org’s David Morley. When choosing a pod, you can see what version it’s running, if it’s open or closed, amount of time running, and what services it offers (many of them offer cross posting to WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook)
I personally use diasp.org and feel free to look me up!
birchwind@diasp.org

I think that the sheer number of people flocking to Ello, even with it’s less than stellar origins and lack of function, indicate that people are really ready to move on from the datamining sites such as Facebook and Google+.

This might be Diaspora’s time to shine.
Maybe Diaspora was born a just before it’s time, and maybe now, people will realize what a gift has been given to us by the Diaspora founders and the community that continues to build, create and maintain this project.

Ello, goodbye

From this article here

Goodbye, Ello.

The only way to fight the venture capital model is not to support the product in the first place. Venture capital is private subsidy that keeps the startup alive long enough until enough people have joined their platform. At this point, it’s too late. By being part of the platform we have created its value. This is the value that is sold in an exit. The only way to resist this system is to not build that value in the first place. Once a network has grown to the sort of size Facebook or Twitter has, there is very little anyone can do. But we have an opportunity to make sure that new networks that are funded by venture capital do not reach that point.

I’m sorry, Paul, but by taking venture capital you have made a crucial mistake that is incompatible with the goals you set out in your manifesto and I will not support yet another venture-capital funded network only to be disappointed at the time of the inevitable exit.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’m leaving Ello. Before it can grow. Before it can exit. And I suggest that you do the same.

Or, even better, do not join it in the first place.

*read more at https://aralbalkan.com/notes/ello-goodbye/

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The summer has been odd.
I’ve not spent the time outside that I normally have. We went away to the island, and that was fantastic, but then we got back here and I fell into my same old habits of internet addiction.
The sad thing is, I’m not even focused.
Started a course in Kemeticism and I am 6 assignments behind. I’ve gained more weight. I have so many ideas about different things and nothing gets complete. Then I feel  like a failure.
My perception is so easily skewed.
Part of me wants to accept that it is simply the way I am, and accept, and love myself regardless.
The other part of me thinks that’s a huge fucking cop-out.
I feel this constant irritation or tug. This vague vastness that is trying to pull me out of the chaos and bring me home.
I don’t know what it is though, so it just pricks and prods at me.
I need to get back into my spiritual practice – but try as I might, ‘little me’ has other ideas. Wanting to play games, browse online endlessly, start a million projects and complete none.
It’s a sense of exasperation that ‘Real Me’ is having with ‘little me’ — wanting to move forwards, but being tripped and tricked into circles.
I tell myself that I’m going to finish this, or organize that and I feel quite sure about it and then lo and behold —- nope.
This inward spiral is helping. Shorter days and cooler nights.
Seems to calm down that excited little voice and I feel that inner solidity finding its way again.
One can only hope.

The Mountain

Shrine

 

This post has been a long time coming. Not that this means it will be a very well written post, so please don’t get your expectations too high. It’s been a long time coming simply because I’ve never really found the words to express how I feel about this – but I’m going to give it an attempt anyhow.

So, my path has been winding. Sometimes way off in one direction, and then a seemingly folding in on itself, coming back to centre only to go past the fulcrum and off again the other way.

Drawn to different ideas, feelings and thoughts. Sometimes feeling scattered, sometimes completely focussed.

I’ve never strongly been drawn to a female deity — though have had an interest in Hathor for quite a number of years. But I have had a draw to a masculine deity. The Horned God in Wicca was always easier for me to connect to than the Lady. Perhaps simply due to the fact that in life I often get along better with men than women. I think that I am somewhat uncomfortable or not in touch with myself as female (not in the sense of identifying as male, but simply not able to embrace myself) – but that is another post.

One thing I had noticed from time to time in the past few years was the feeling of a presence. Large. Ancient. Solid. Silent yet moving. Breathing… the only thing I could think of to describe it was a Mountain. I found that when I came across different scriptures – Psalms most specifically,  and narrowing that down I’d say 29 and 104 off the top of my mind – that I would experience the same feeling of ancientness as the unseen Mountain.

Once I spoke to a scholarly, magically inclined friend from the interwebs about this. This feeling that felt like dejavu — an ancient presence that I didn’t know… and he spoke of how time can layer over, it’s not linear. I pondered that, and considered it, but still as this ‘presence’ it made little sense.

I could sense what I would imagine the vast high places of the Near East to be like. Fleeting strange feelings that made themselves evident as imagery.

Then, although I had come across this before, I came across again the name El.

I had been looking up Asherah, for personal interest. Looking for scholarly stuff to support the fact that people used to see God the Father as a Mother and Father — that God had a consort. And although I had read this before, for some reason this time when I read about Asherah (Athiratu) and came across El — I had that wave of ancient feeling.

Huge, silent, but very alive.

I realized that one of the main things that kept bringing me back from paganism to Christianity and Judaism were these aspects of El (and sometimes Ba’al) which became merged into Yahweh as the Israelites moved away from polytheism to monotheism.

I realized that certain passages from the OT would bring about that same feeling within myself – parts of me recognizing phrases that seemed to be reminiscent of El the Father of the Patriarchs. The Creator of All. El the Benevolent. El was not an angry judgemental God according to the Baal epic (cuneiform writings found at Ras Shamra). El had little in common with Yahweh of the OT except perhaps that Yahweh took on El’s titles. Lord of the Hosts of Heaven, Father of All etc. El is used in the bible many many times… and I could go into a huge discussion about the origins of Yahweh but I won’t do that here. I will leave a link to this, regarding the convergence: http://www.adath-shalom.ca/israelite_religion.htm#convergence (the whole page is an amazing read, not just this section… give it a look )

Along with realizing how strong of a pull I felt to El, I also finally felt a connection to a female Deity – Athiratu.

I still consider myself a soft polytheist however – I used to feel quite strictly that they were all reflections of the same being. Kind of like how on a disco ball, each piece of mirror reflects out a different ray of light.
I used to think that those different reflections were all aspects of the same deity , I now see it more as each reflection on that whole IS a deity within itself.
I feel like they are different Deities of the same Power, manifested in different ways, acting in different ways.  — at least that is how it feels for me.

The Lady in the Craft is not Aradia for me. I realize that for many Traditional Wiccans I would then be told that I am not properly a Wiccan — with my Canaanite pantheon  being foremost for me right now. But I can’t help feel that Athiratu, the Queen of the Heavens, of All Creation, She who Treads on the Sea (or days/time) is the main Female Deity for me at this point. Her qualities fill the Form of the Lady for me right now… and even Anat has a rightful place there.

Considered bloodthirsty, but really to me she feels like the Earth. Violent and merciless sometimes and caring, loyal and provider at others. Commanded by Baal to :

Remove war from the earth,
set love in the ground,
pour peace into the heart of the earth,
tranquillity into the heart of the fields.

The more I learn about the Canaanite Pantheon, the more I feel I have come home.

I understand this draw to the OT, the feeling of this ancient Mountain  – El the Bull, known to reside up high on the mountain at the convergence of the two rivers.  The Lady Athiratu , Queen at the side of the ocean, depicted with her cauldron, washing clothes. I have no real one tangible qualifying statement except —– The nagging feeling of the Mountain has been satiated upon learning about the Canaanite pantheon. For me, I take that as one of the markers on my map telling me I am headed in the right direction. At least for now

Blessed Be.

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