In response to Luis’s post from yesterday. Suggestions for the diaspora developers.
What we need is a tool for making connections with other people and a social firewall to manage what parts of the information you put in the system get sent to which people you know. These are the pieces that hold a “social network” together and make it different from any other digital communication tool. The rest, all the specific communication tools like email, IM, photo sharing, VoIP, etc, are being bundled together in a dozen permutations as we speak. People will continue building such systems indefinitely. That is about all about using the network, not building it. Once you’ve assembled a social network it should no more care how we communicate over it than the internet does.
Most new social networks fail because the costs of switching and having to rebuild your social connections through the new tool outweigh whatever advantages that tool might have to offer. When we separate the communication tools from the underlying social network, we will gain the flexibility to experiment that we need without sacrificing our personal relationships to the alter of bleeding edge communication software. So build that part first. If you get it right, you will become a part of everyone’s social software stack, not just the one in the Freedom Box.