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My family members are far apart and we communicate via a webapp I made, but I don't have much time to maintain it, so I would like to switch to an off-the-shelf free webapp.

Requirements:

  • Each member has their own login/password
  • No "friending" necessary, all members see the same thing
  • First thing seen after login is the message board ("wall"?)
  • Text and pictures can be posted.
  • Text and pictures can be exported with no quality loss, in case we want to migrate to another solution
  • Free
  • SaaS (not on my own server), advertisement OK
  • Fast to load on slow connections

Bonus for shared memos, shared calendar, document sharing.

Expected traffic is low: about 1 message per day and 1 picture per week

  • Diaspora may fit the bill. You could launch a VM from Bitnami (bitnami.com/stack/diaspora) in the cloud very easily which would be as close to SaaS as makes no difference. – Boggin Sep 9 '14 at 11:45
  • @Boggin: That would not be gratis, right? – Nicolas Raoul Sep 10 '14 at 3:14
  • @NicolasRaoul, no hosted solution is going to be unless you already have the hosting paid for. – Holloway Sep 10 '14 at 8:27
  • @Trengot: The 2 answers below are hosted AND gratis. What is your definition of "hosted"? – Nicolas Raoul Sep 10 '14 at 8:35
  • @NicolasRaoul, true - I was thinking 'hosted' along the lines of running something on hosted webspace (like godaddy/1and1) as opposed to running a site on your own servers. – Holloway Sep 10 '14 at 8:40
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This sounds like the sort of thing that a closed community on Google+ would be ideal for, if you set up a closed community only those accepted into the circle would see the content:

  • Each member has their own login/password Their G+ Identity
  • No "friending" necessary, all members see the same thing Yes
  • First thing seen after login is the message board ("wall"?) If you set up a bookmark to the circle it will take you straight there
  • Text and pictures can be posted. Yes
  • Text and pictures can be exported with no quality loss, in case we want to migrate to another solution Yes
  • Free Yes
  • Hosted (SaaS), advertisement OK Yes
  • Fast to load on slow connections In my experience it has been.

Also available on mobile connections.

If you read the instructions here you will find that you can create a private community that doesn't show up on searches and then you can invite your family to join.

You can share documents via Google documents, events and even have video chats.

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Going along the idea of Steve's G+ answer. What about Facebook?

I know it's generally considered more of a public thing but you can set up private and secret groups that allow you to interact in all the ways you mentioned.

It is widespread, works on every almost every platform going and most people will have an account anyway.

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