Waiting For Facebook Alternatives

Remember back a few months ago? The Internet was abuzz with talk about the evils of Facebook, many of which were true and several that still are. Major celebrities made public pronouncements that they were leaving Facebook. People published information on how to delete your Facebook account. Radio and television spots had experts talking about these evils and society's blind trust in all things networked. The social networking world was failing us. Our privacy had been sold out. Where oh where could we turn for a savior.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a White Knight appeared. A group calling themselves Diaspora came forward to tell us about an open, safe, secure, and infinitely cooler alternative to Facebook. Never again would people have to worry about the evils of monolithic corporations stalking us, selling our personal lives out for cash. Salvation was but a few lines of code away. But it would cost a bit.

And so the pledges started pouring in.  By June 1st, 2010, Diaspora had some 6500 people contributing $200,000 (yes, that's two hundred thousand) toward achieving the dream of a safe, distributed, and free alternative to Facebook.  Whether the world would leave Facebook en masse was entirely beside the point. It was heady. It was exciting. By mid-July, the excitement had faded and silence had taken its place. Given the urgency and excitement that drove all this, where's the buzz now?

The last blog post on the Diaspora site was at the beginning of July.

The last Twitter update from Diaspora was July 18, 2010.

The last Identi.ca post came July 2nd.

The last Facebook status update was July 12, 2010.

Where's the buzz?

I'm not trying to diss the project (nor am I suggesting anything dark and heinous is afoot), but shouldn't there be some chatter out there. Even the blogosphere is virtually mute on the subject. Why isn't Diaspora trying to engage the community? Where's the work in progress? Where are the mockups?  When Evan Prodromou released identi.ca his open, distributed, and free alternative to Twitter, he did so early and publicly. He asked for and received a lot of feedback from the community. Where's the equivalent with Diaspora? Where's the buzz? Has Facebook won this battle without a shot being fired? Will we all have forgotten about Diaspora in a few months?

I'm just asking . . . you know?

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