My 5/23/10 Missoulian column
Last week, I wrote about new privacy concerns at the popular social networking website Facebook and what’s been described as an anti-Facebook service called the Diaspora Project.
The story has gotten more interesting in the last week, as Facebook has suddenly made a new push for privacy safeguards, according to the New York Times: Facebook hints that simpler privacy settings are on their way and the Diaspora Project has gaining much traction in terms of funding and interest.
That’s the first interesting part to the Diaspora story. The second is the way the programmers chose to raise both money and awareness for its service.
The way the Diaspora Project has raised money – and also lots of press for themselves – is via a website called Kickstarter. It’s something of a social network itself that relies on a community for project feedback and funding.
Pitch a project to the Kickstarter community – be it technological or creative – and anyone can read about it and watch video of what you want to do and choose to contribute an amount they feel comfortable with.
That method of fundraising and public relations probably felt natural to the individuals behind Diaspora. They pretty much grew up on the Internet, social networking and the concept of community involvement. And when they got the idea to challenge Facebook, they decided to do it on their own terms.
The Diaspora Project has raised far more than the $10,000 they were initially aiming for; they’re now at $178,000 from more than 5400 contributors, with still more than a week to go in their fundraising timeframe.
The students will be developing Diaspora by working full time over their summer vacation and by fall will offer it for free to the Internet community as a whole.
This week in Mac Q & A: Is AppleCare Worth it?