Remember Diaspora? If you believed the hype, it was supposed to be our saviour from the privacy flaws of Facebook – a distributed, decentralized social network. However, since it launched with plenty of press coverage and funding last year, it’s disappeared into the shadows and is widely regarded as an idea that has its time but has lost momentum.

Today the team has sent an email (posted below) to its users asking for a $25 donate to keep it alive.

“We’re not in this for the money. But today we’re asking for your help — some money — to keep building Diaspora*. Can you contribute $25.-, or any other amount you feel comfortable with?”

Ironically, Diaspora founded itself off of donations. Created by four NYU students, the team raised more than $178,000 using Kickstarter. At one point, the project seemed to be the perfect idea at the perfect time but as with many things in tech, not weeks later, upon the launch of Google+ and more recently Facebook’s redesign, the excitement for the open-source, distributed social network faltered fast.

Today’s email is quite clearly a last ditch attempt from the team to keep things running – a “what have we got to lose?” moment I imagine. But one look at what’s been built with the $178,000+ raised should tell you your money is better spent, or indeed donated, elsewhere.

[Update: In September, Diaspora’s reported P&L statement for the year was leaked. It isn’t outlandish but four 19-21 year old straight-out-of-university founders choosing to take $28,8k salary each seems absurd to me.]

BUT, it’s your money, will you donate? Email and link to donate below:

We love you. Yes. Really, we do.

We’re building Diaspora*, in a spirit of community, because we believe in you. You’re one of the innovators, the creative ones, the people who make the world awesome.

We’re building tools that we hope will help you bring your true voice to the world. For no other reason than we want to see what you’ll say and do here. For the pure joy of it.

And it’s incredibly moving for us whenever someone steps up to help make it happen, by writing a blog post or contributing code, or giving money. It says someone shares our love for what’s possible, and is going the extra distance to show it. It’s like getting a huge, warm hug.

We’re not in this for the money. But today we’re asking for your help — some money — to keep building Diaspora*.

Can you contribute $25.-, or any other amount you feel comfortable with?

It will really make a difference, enabling us to build more great features to help you express yourself, however you like.

We recently asked Diasporans what they love about our service. There were tons of beautiful responses. Here are a few of our favorites:

What people love about Diaspora*

Diaspora is:
For benefit rather than profit.
A community rather than a corporation.
A place where who you are and what you say and to whom is all in your control, not in the control of the people who run it.
Run by people who listen to their users and respond.
– Goober Fox

It’s interesting how much people seem to be sharing on an intellectual level, there are conversations here. Not just short comments and banter.
– Satu Jokinen

…all the… wonderful friends I’ve made here who are too numerous to list…
– Garidin Winslow

I like that i can control who to share what with. I like that I’m not bombarded with alcohol, sex, dating and violence ads all the time… and I love the whole concept its buil[t] up upon. Its like the internet I got to know when I first got online many… years ago
– Bohs Hansen

Freedom.
– Paks

No clutter. ;)
– Carlex Crespo

This is a simple and effective place for adults, or; just for all the people who appreciate ‘simple’ and effective things; ha!
– May M

Geez, where to begin? :-)
The decentralized approach.
The absolute freedom of name, gender and expression.
Ownership of your data…
Knowing you do it for the sake of advancement and not for profit – makes me want to donate to it!
The lovely, intelligent, creative, funny and übergeeky people I am sharing with.
The hearts. I ♥ the hearts. And the ☮ signs.
It’s open source, so no vendor lock-ins or sneaky partnerships
The way it could set information free, since a regime can block out one site, but never win a pod info war.

And it’s just in alpha, right? Whoa….
– Lars Christensen, a.k.a. Organic Unit 070678

I love the heart of the idea of becoming a Diasporian. Diaspora started off with a good heart. That’s what will keep it alive.
– Dao
It’s just so heart-warming to read comments like these. What we’re building here is so much more than just another social network. At its core, Diaspora* is a new community, a uniquely free one, based on a positive vision of how we can all experience community online.

It’s a community effort too. Which is why so many people are contributing in whatever way they can. And why we hope you’ll take a moment to give $25.-, or whatever you can, to support this vision today.

Your support will make a real difference, and it will mean the world to us.

Thank you.

- Ilya, Dan, Max, Sarah, Yosem, and Peter