Remember Diaspora, the open source competitor to Facebook? Yesterday they have started sending out invites for the private alpha. The invites will initially be sent to the 6500 people who helped them raise $200,000 in a month. After that they will start sending out invites to those on the mailing list.
Diasopra was concieved when there was a furore over Facebook's privacy policies. They initially planned to raise $10,000 in around a month but ended up with around a total of around $200,000. In September they managed to release the source code and the user-facing alpha was planned for October. There was a slight delay and it was pushed back to before Thanksgiving.
Two days before Thanksgiving, the Diaspora team managed to deliver and the user facing alpha is now up and running. Of course it is a private alpha, and they are still sending out invites.
This is what they wrote in their blog:
We are proud of where Diaspora is right now. In less than five months, we’ve gone from nothing to a great starting point from which the community can keep working. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how people can share in a private way, and still do all the things people love to do on social networks. We hope you’ll find it fun to use and a great way to keep in touch with all the people in your life.
An interesting approach that Diaspora is taking is "aspects". This is how they describe aspects:
Diaspora lets you create “aspects,” which are personal lists that let you group people according to the roles they play in your life. We think that aspects are a simple, straightforward, lightweight way to make it really clear who is receiving your posts and who you are receiving posts from.
From the sound of it, it seems like aspects will play a big part in Diaspora. This is interesting because Facebook seems to be going the opposite direction. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg said that people do not want to create lists.
After they are done sending out invites to the 6500 people who helped raise the money, they will start sending out the invites to those on the mailing list. You can request for an invite here - joindiaspora.com.