There is a rich, detailed article at MotherBoard “What Happened to the Facebook Killer? It’s Complicated” talking about Diaspora: The Community-run, Distributed Social-network , how the combination of its very low initial budget ($200,000) compared to Go0gle’s billions, the tragic death of one of its founders, and the scale of reach Facebook had reached, amongst many others, as factors that have influenced its failure to take over FB. The project is still very much alive, however I can tell you in one, ok two, points why it won’t reach millions.
1. Too much focus on geekdom. The Big Bang Theory might be a very popular show, but most folks aren’t interested getting their hands dirty. Who wants to install a server?
2. Too much choice. When you go to the diasporaproject.org and click sign-up it directs you to a tsuanami of pod choices to join. They call it an ecosystem of pods.
I would like a social media system that offers full control over privacy and guarantee of respect of individual and collective privacy. I fully respect the impetus behind Diaspora. And I’m disappointed it hasn’t taken over as a viable new model. Especially in the light of FB’s recent privacy transgressions in Europe. (FB recently rolled out a facial recognition system that tags your photos by automatically suggesting names. They have since suspended facial recognition in Europe – where presumably folks have a longer memory of how data in the wrong hands is no laughing matter.)
But who will provide such a utopic system?
The MB article concludes on an optimistic note: “As the Internet shifts to our pockets and everywhere else, it’s right to be skeptical of those who promise to be the next big thing, no matter how big that thing is. What we do know is that the new new thing is always right around the corner. It probably won’t be Diaspora. And it probably won’t resemble Facebook. But it will probably be better. It will need to be, because it’s our choice after all. These things are nothing without us.”