Diaspora has been getting a great deal of attention as reports come out about interest in Facebook account deletion. Facebook's Open Graph initiative, which has been criticized a great deal for being the opposite of open, has had people considering different options, and one of those options is Diaspora.
At least that's the hope. Diaspora, doesn't actually exist yet, but it's raising funding, expectations, and a significant amount of interest from third-parties wanting to help out the group of young guys responsible for its existence.
The group has made more money that it asked for, and has posted an update to its blog today addressing where they're at with the project:
Our basic plan is the same: we're going to build a great lightweight decentralized social networking framework and release it as AGPL software. We're going to use the extra money to help us reach that goal and to keep improving Diaspora after this summer, and possibly supplement our ramen with the occasional apple. 🙂
In addition to money, a massive number of talented and experienced people, including developers, designers, hosting companies and lawyers, have offered us their expertise. Though we haven’t responded to the deluge of emails, we have read them all. We’re still working through the backlog and are putting together a great group of advisors.
We’re also getting in touch with other projects in the space. We had a great talk with the guys behind Ostatus earlier this week, and we are excited to implement the Ostatus standards.
OStatus is described as an open standard for distributed status updates with the goal of specification that allows different messaging hubs to route status updates between users in near-real-time. It builds upon protocols like PubSubHubbub, Webfinger, ActivityStreams and Salmon - those generally associated with the open web.
In Diaspora's initial description of itself, it said, "We are 140-character ideas. We are the pictures of your cat. We are blog posts about the economy. We are the collective knowledge that is Wikipedia."
If the goal is to provide a legitimate alternative to Facebook, Diaspora has a large mountain to climb. No matter how great the product ends up being, it's going to take getting the masses to sign on, and the masses are Facebook's greatest asset. Can the enthusiasm of the tech community translate to the average Facebook user? Tell us what you think.