NOTE: The creators of Friendica used their experience to develop a still greater tool, RedMatrix. And the latest evolution, from all that experience, is Hubzilla. My spot is here.

Friendica is a social networking system that allows you to connect with people just about anywhere on the Internet. It’s free, it’s open, and it’s as private as you want to make it. How to get started using Friendica?

#1. Familiarize yourself with its fantastic features. You’ll not use all of them starting out, but it’s good to know what’s under the hood.

#2. Decide whether you want to install your own instance of Friendica on a server, or create an account on someone else’s host. (For now, I’m on someone else’s instance.)

#3. If the latter, choose where you’d like to create your account from this directory of Friendica host sites. (Today, both and look especially interesting.) If you later want to change, you can move to another instance. Friendica is decentralized, which means you can communicate with all the other instances, besides other services like Twitter or Facebook.

#4. Having chosen your instance, sign up, edit your profile, and add an image to it. You can make it private or open. You can use a pseudonym, if you wish. In addition to your default profile, you can create a public profile and determine who can see which one.

#5. Use the directory tab within the instance you joined to find people to connect with, or ask others what their Friendica ID is (called a webfinger) or what their profile URI is. On someone’s profile, click on the Connect button and follow the prompts. For the webfinger or just to search for friends by interest or key words, go to the Contacts tab. See Tobias’s post on finding friends.

#6. Connect with other services you use. You can post from Friendica to services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, LiveJournal, and others. You can even post from WordPress to Friendica. Be sure the instance you choose has the options you want. These will be listed on the directory of Friendica host sites.

#7. Don’t forget to invite your friends to join Friendica as well. They may want to stay where they are, but they might be ready for something better. Feel free to share this page with them.

There are lots of resources out there for Friendica. (See also the Help section in Tobias’s instance.) And Friendicans, who know more than I, and even the top developers, are eager to help in this labor of love.

Again, why Friendica? Most importantly, your data (posts, photos, images) is yours, you control how private it is, who can see it, and no one is going to make money off your data by collecting your information and choices. Also, to avoid spreading yourself thin across the Internet, Friendica offers the option of staying on top of your web experience from a single spot. Join me.

What do you think?