The Facebook Alternative?

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Sida Li, a Buzz Builder in our Queens office!

This April, four NYU computer science students put up an innocuous-looking project on the fundraising platform Kickstarter.com called Decentralize the Web with Diaspora. Their plan? To raise $10,000 and create a “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network.” Instead of storing data in one centralized location, Diaspora’s platform would allow individuals to own and control their information.

I stumbled upon their Kickstarter page early, when they only had a tiny percentage funded. My first impressions were skeptical; I thought it was a great concept, but despite the backlash against Facebook privacy issues I didn’t believe the general population cared enough about privacy issues to stop using Facebook and join a new social network. What if none of your friends wanted to join? How would Facebook react? What about companies and advertisers, who would find the possibility of reaching their customers severely limited?

A few weeks later I came back to check on the status Diaspora. Much to my surprise, I found that that they had received over $30,000 in donations. It seemed that everyone from Mashable to the New York Times to the BBC got word of Diaspora and wrote pieces on it. In total, 6,479 different backers donated $200,642, over 20 times the amount they were hoping for.

After seeing the enormous buzz Diaspora has created, do you think these 4 young men are on to something groundbreaking? Share your thoughts with us! You can find their Kickstarter page here and their website here.