Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

Summary: This is a developer release, meant to be pounded on. It is the modern version of vaporware. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, this is instant pudding.

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The press is in love with Diaspora.

With Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg having gone from start-up, to MySpace contender, to leader, to domination, to movie villain faster than most people can get through college, the search is on for the next big thing.

(Image from the good people at Wikipedia.)

Diaspora combines the promise of open source with privacy guarantees. As such it makes the perfect Luke Skywalker to Zuckerberg's Darth Vader.

Facebook had to deliver a platform, users and traffic before it won publicity. Diaspora is getting it while they're still writing code.

The good news is the first version of the code is out. This is a developer release, meant to be pounded on. It is the modern version of vaporware. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, this is instant pudding.

When you run the code you get something sparse and clean, sort of a cross between Facebook itself and Apple's Ping. Friends and messages are managed through "aspects," which Diaspora hopes to make a new buzzword, as Microsoft favorites once vied with Netscape bookmarks.

While Facebook, which now claims over 500 million users, is strong like Apple, Diaspora hopes to emulate Android. That is, the open source project will let others build off its code, creating their own compatible networks.

What is interesting is that while, back in May, all the press buzz was about how cool Diaspora was going to be and how it was going to take down Facebook, phrases like anti-Facebook and Facebook killer are now put in quotes, which like air quotes are meant to signify the reporter is now too cool to buy the hype.

Bloggers who a few months ago were anxious to get on the anti-Facebook trend are now writing things like Diaspora Fail. (Because it's written with Ruby.) Believers like Henrik Moltke now sound like diehard Obama supporters.

It is at this point of the movie that the hero should be hunkered down, and so far as I can tell Max, Dan, Ilya and Raphi are. (This is no time to be giving interviews.)

Their next step should be to seek out a wise adviser, someone who has been there and done that, a Yoda-like character from whom they can learn all about the force, or in this case the source (code). A venture capitalist wearing a black turtleneck, maybe.

Ruby you write. Users you seek. Feel the source. (On with the parody...)

Topics: Apple, Android, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Open Source, Start-Ups

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15 comments
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  • Why will people want to use Diaspora?

    People typically switch when they are not content. Now that the talk about privacy issues have subsided, and Facebook is still clean, simple and free, what will help Diaspora gain traction?<br><br>I've been hearing about how great it is since before it came out, but Facebook has a monstrous head start and has fully utilized it. <br><br>Then again, it does remind of an xkcd comic:<br><a href="http://xkcd.com/743/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://xkcd.com/743/</a>
    PlayFair
    • facebook is not clean

      @PlayFair

      by any means, its a very complicated interface to navigate for most users, things are not obvious
      OneTwoc21
      • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

        @OneTwoc21 I have a Facebook account but I seldom use it. And my loved ones have wisely avoided putting pictures of themselves there. (Me, I'm a lost cause in that regard.)
        DanaBlankenhorn
      • i use it

        @DanaBlankehorn

        I use FB, including pictures of myself, but i have all my privacy locked down as much as humanly possible. The Privacy issues that FB has created are pretty crazy but on the flip side i cant help but remember hearing this when i was a child.

        "With more freedom comes less protection, with less freedom comes more protection"

        Granted i heard this when relating to Gulf War. But what i did learn was it does indeed apply to the internet. If you want to be able to share with everybody everything you do, then guess what, you have no privacy. Also. XKCD rocks and i <33333333333 that comic you posted PlayFair
        OneTwoc21
    • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

      @PlayFair I do enjoy me xome XKCD. But remember MySpace once had just as big a lead as Facebook now enjoys. Things change. No lead is truly safe when it's so easy to switch.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

        @DanaBlankenhorn <br><br>Actually, no. Even at it's peak, Myspace never tapped on the 100 Million Mark. Facebook has eclipsed that 5 times over. And it didn't have the "Apps" that Facebook has.
        PlayFair
  • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

    What make anyone think the binary on the cloud will match the source code?
    caosvsuncle
    • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

      @caosvsuncle That's a good question, and the answer is, in a word, goodwill.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

        @DanaBlankenhorn <br>Dana I hope you are right but I have already had my network provider ATT yahoo email account with a strong password hacked and had my communications routing all over the place to people I don't even know when I was in a really bad mood so I am well aware of problems that social networking can cause. I could not even get a replacement email account from them, that could not have social networking options enabled.<br> On the Bloomburg network they had a program called Intelligence Squared Debate where the guy,on NSA's side to take over the internet, talked about a program called "Herddict" the verdict of the herd. Combine that with a little craftily leaked info about a person and you have the next social network O J Simpson trial and exclusion from the herd. Do you want to be that person? Concerning the idea of social good will have you aver watched any politics?
        caosvsuncle
  • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

    What are the chances of people being able to stand up to the government with a "herddict". Social networking will eventually throw freedom out the window forever.
    caosvsuncle
  • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

    Social networking even has the potential to be abused as a persecution scheme.
    caosvsuncle
    • I don't think so

      @caosvsuncle What you're talking about is something acting in isolation, from one actor. Social networking isn't about finding.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

    All that privacy requires is an encrypted network and maybe an individual key that everyone has for the network to test for. There is far far too much human abuse on the internet to think social networking is acceptable. What are people going to be excluded by? their religion or lack of religion? their intellect? their skin color? who will be the referee? It completely indicates we are a people of depraved mind who have allowed this to come into legality in this country at all and the most in conceptual part of it all is that we will have people of depraved minds adding code to it like they are playing a video game. I bet you these posts never see the net though not that anybody cares if they read it.
    caosvsuncle
  • RE: Can Diaspora win anything but publicity?

    Facebook has taken not only a hard-line, but with an arrogant attitude, on user privacy. It's about time that an alternative is available. In addition to Diaspora, there is MyCube, The Fridge and others focused on building privacy and control into social networking, and one of these may very well be successful and take a chunk out of Facebook. I certainly hope so.
    Johnny Random
  • It's only a matter of time

    Once people figure out that they can have their "social networking" without giving up their privacy, then Facebook's days are numbered. You don't have to forever give up control over your privacy to "network" with people. When Diaspora* launches, the privacy issues will once again come forward for Facebook. Most likely, they will downplay those issues, as history has shown that they will not adequately address the issues or concerns. So in the end, Facebook will become what MySpace has become ... passe, and "un-cool." And none too soon!
    parnote@...