Regardless if you are on Friendica, Diaspora, or an ostatus network like GNU social, postActive, or Mastodon you can connect to my Friendica profile at https://monkeystew.social/profile/thrrgilag (email@example.com).
Take a look to see how extensive open social networks are and what it’s all about.
the federation -> https://the-federation.info
Contains statistics of hosts and usage across diaspora*, Friendica, and Hubzilla networks.
Fediverse.org -> https://www.fediverse.org
A map of all the public ostatus nodes in the GNU social network
Friendica is a social platform and distributed social network that focuses on ease of installation and extensive privacy options. It also aims to federate with as many social networks as possible with connectors to networks like diaspora*, GNU social, Twitter, and various others including RSS feeds.
You can find more information about it at friendi.ca.
Diaspora is a distributed social network that focuses on decentralization, freedom, and privacy. The project started in 2010 by four students at NYU in response to Facebook and their changing privacy policies and data collection. Since that time it has grown to over 60,000 users across more than 300 instances (pods). A strength of the network is the privacy controls and solid user interface. If you are coming from Facebook or Google+ this would be a good place to start.
You can find more information about diaspora* at diasporafoundation.org.
GNU social (formerly StatusNet) is a free and open source micro-blogging server that implements the OStatus standard for distributing status updates across servers. If you are coming from Twitter then this should feel pretty familiar. The privacy controls are not as strong as diaspora* or Friendica. Posts are generally public and can show up on different servers not just the one your on depending on where people follow you from.
You can find more information about it at gnu.io/social.
Mastodon is another free and open source micro-blogging server which implements the OStatus standard for distributing status updates across servers. It works to be compatible with GNU social but does have some differences in behavior particularly with the client interface. The default web interface is similar to TweetDeck and the client api is completely different. So apps written for Mastodon do not work with GNU social and apps written for GNU social do not work with Mastodon. Users on either network can still connect and interact fortunately.
You can find more information about it at joinmastodon.org.