The Diaspora Project reached full funding recently, a social network that has all that is lacking in established sites of its category. Security, content ownership and a distributed network are key features of this open source pr
oject, a transparent counterpoint to the failings of Facebook's user policies.
According to the Diaspora team, the current social networking model is built on the Internet's organic growth into centralized communication hubs. A server-client model necessitates "middlemen," or the social networks with their dependent interfaces, privacy policies or lack thereof. This model makes sharing convenient, but often user rights are limited in some way.
The response that Diaspora is adopting against this model is an always-on, narrow-scope place for all of a user's media called the "Freedom Box." Mass usability where every end user has an identical experience with a secure and decentralized backend enabled with encryption. With an emphasis on open source and privacy-awareness, Diaspora aims to run on any platform, scrape data from multiple data feeds (Twitter, Flickr, etc) on the user's own Web service with "friend keys" that are completely permission-based.
The full release is planned for September 2010, and these guys have blasted past their full funding goal through Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding site. Kickstarter lets anyone pitch or back a project on the site - projects can get funding from individuals paying as little as a dollar, but can set up tiers for more specific awards. In the case of Diaspora, $5 gets a backer the software sent at launchtime, all the way up to $2,000, which gets a new, Diaspora-configured computer, hosted service, phone support, stickers, etc.
While observers are excited about Diaspora, especially in this "We love to hate Facebook" climate, they are just as excited about their fundraising. Their Kickstart backers are numbering above 2,600 at this writing, and TechCrunch has noted familiar VC names.