Facebook alternative Diaspora turns itself over to the people

diaspora logoThe social network for the people is becoming the social network of the people. Today Diaspora announced that it will be turning the network over to the community, giving them the reigns to run and evolve the anti-Facebook social platform.

“Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community,” co-founders Daniel Grippi and Maxwell Salzberg said via blog post. “As a Free Software social project, we have an obligation to take this project further, for the good of the community that revolves around it. Putting the decisions for the project’s future in the hands of the community is one of the highest benefits of an FOSS project, and we’d like to bring this benefit to our users and developers.”

“We still will remain as an important part of this community as the founders, but we want to make sure we are including all of the people who care about Diaspora and want to see it succeed well into the future.”

The announcement comes shortly after the team behind Diaspora launched Makr.io, a new meme-focused photo remixing application that has had a successful and much-noticed launch. It’s possible this new platform is where the founders intend to diver their attention, and there’s also the fact that Diaspora never truly lived up to its early hype. Originally, the site wanted to seriously challenge Facebook and its data-mongering ways — and while it’s beloved by its extremely loyal users, the numbers don’t lie. [Update: In response to a comment request, Salzberg tells me via email that “Diaspora is our baby and we will continue to oversee and contribute to it. We will be focusing our attention to Makr.io and continue exploring that as well.”]

Diaspora hasn’t been the only attempt at an alternative, more open social network. The short-lived Anybeat (formerly Altly) wasn’t able to turn itself into a viable option, shuttering it’s service earlier this year. And of course, even a big-name, data-hungry competitor by the name of Google+ hasn’t exactly been able to net enough converts to make Facebook even bat an eye.

Still, the attempts wage on – currently App.net is giving the open social network thing a go with its Twitter rival. The road behind them isn’t exactly paved with success stories, but as Facebook and Twitter and the collective social world grows, so will our standards for them. And information control and open development systems could easily be something users want out of their platforms – the question really is how soon we’ll care enough to give these alternatives our time and attention. 

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