Why Friendica? Because somebody has to stand up for the people of the Internet. This is why we exist. Friendica is our alternative to those "creepy" social networks that don't really care about your privacy, and only seem to care how they can profit from taking it away. They seem to be constantly making it harder for your social communications to actually reach your friends and families, and easier for unwanted people to sell you stuff.
If these things concern you, perhaps it's time to join other freedom loving and privacy respecting people on the free social web.
The Friendica Project is a world-wide consortium of software developers creating decentralised social platforms and technology for the coming post-Facebook world. We aren't as flashy and well known as some of the other projects working on a decentralised/federated social web, but we've been quietly working behind the scenes to provide the most reliable, full-featured, and extensible alternative to the monolithic providers.
We are currently involved in three different projects.
Friendica is our flagship platform. It is an open source, free social web server running on the popular LAMP stack. Think WordPress or Drupal, but for social. It is a mature platform with over two years of development behind it, and provides a wide range of connectors to both legacy and indie social networks. Your "friends" can be from Facebook, Diaspora, Twitter, Identi.ca, weblogs and RSS feeds - and even email. No other project has ever brought together the social universe into a single federated stream to this degree. We have pioneered ground-breaking technology such as decentralised photo albums with working privacy controls and cross-site wall-to-wall posting via hidden single sign-on. Not even Facebook will protect your private photos from "fuskers" (look it up, but be warned - it's real creepy). If you make a Friendica photo private, it's private.
Caveat: Some of the corporate-owned networks are not happy that we've managed to integrate their networks so seamlessly and have started to close off and restrict the ability to interact with their members. Friendica can stand on its own without them, but while it lasts, it is pleasant to interact in a global social space without walls.
Red is our next generation communications platform, currently under development. In building Friendica we learned a great many things about how to make reliable and scalable decentralised communications systems. We also know that to achieve critical success, we need to go far beyond "how to install servers" and provide a distributed platform which exists everywhere and can serve millions of people - while avoiding the traps of advertising monetisation (which brought us all the creepiness).
We also have stopped calling Red a "social network", as it is conceptually quite different from those things. It's more like a collection of channels and web spaces that can all interact. Sure, you can use it as a "social network" and many people will. But that's like saying you can use a mobile phone to make phone calls. Most mobile phones can do a lot more.
The Friendica Directory
The Friendica Global Directory was initially created to index and search the members of Friendica - who are located around the world. Many of these are operating from their own hubs (which all connect together into a super global social network much like the web itself). A central directory was important to be able to find them all, as searching large numbers of decentralised resources does not easily scale. We're currently applying our mature decentralisation technology to break up the global directory and provide replicated directories located at various places on the planet so that we aren't dependent on any single service provider anywhere in the system.