The idea of Diaspora is simple, to create "a privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed, open source, social network". How hard could that be?
Well not so hard that four guys don't think they can put it togeather over a summer, and so, they've started their campaign.
Here's the full description from their (extremely professional) fundraising site:
Enter your Diaspora “seed,” a personal web server that stores all of your information and shares it with your friends. Diaspora knows how to securely share (using GPG) your pictures, videos, and more. When you have a Diaspora seed of your own, you own your social graph, you have access to your information however you want, whenever you want, and you have full control of your online identity. Once we have built a solid foundation, we will make Diaspora easy to extend to facilitate any type of communication, and the possibilities will be endless.This is the first, serious looking, competator to Facebook. They've managed to raise over $160,000 to support their work so far, with more coming in all the time.
Thinking about it from a tech angle, there's nothing here which is impossible. Indeed in some ways Tweetdeck and a few other services are already part way there, they just dont offer you control of your data. This new service is offering that as a concept.
Take a look at their proposals and have a think about what it might mean. A distributed, uncontrolled, social network. No corporation mediating the gap, just you and your friends, speaking to each other. Finally open source, two words I will literally never tire of hearing, so the innovation comes from the community.
So far I've donated $10. When they can show me work has started and they have a viable product. I'm going to put more in.
You should consider doing the same.