Normal folk care about social network privacy as much as they care about, say, Walmart's business practices, or Apple's obscure app acceptance decision criteria.
Social Swarm is an open think tank initiated by the German privacy and digital rights NGO FoeBuD. They are attempting to research and co-ordinate the many and varied efforts in decentralised, secure social networking. You should visit their wiki, where they have collected many resources from across the net, so we can get a handle on the many different projects and their statuses, as well as talk tactics with regards to that deciding factor, traction. You should also sign up to their mailing list if you are at all interested in these ideas.
Also, have a look at Secushare. Today I also attended a talk by some of the members of this project, and it seems extremely promising. They know what the hell they are doing, with something like a century of combined experience in the field. It's fully distributed, based on GNUnet, (similar to tor) and has some very innovative ideas around using the trust network implicit in the social graph for routing and distribution of data.
(Note that I do not necessarily represent the social swarm collective, I only just met them today ;)
It also talks about solutions looking for problems, likkr RDF. I don't think the semantic web will be a social network for the 99%.
The biggest problem with building a new social network is traction, ie users. This is a social, not technical, problem. If the occupy groups want to stop Facebook, they could try to get all people to never use it for occupy stuff.
...waiiit a minute...
As a professional fraudster with first class honours in identity theft, I for one welcome the move to a grand unified 'one-password-fits-all' structure, and look forward to working hand-in-hand with everyone on your friends list for a better tomorrow.
"When he was an undergrad in 2005, Boyer, who is now 27, took a job at the Student Trade Justice Campaign, an organization focused on trade policy reform. In 2007, he wanted to build an online platform for individual chapters to organize into groups and to link those groups for national discussions – essentially what the FGA is meant to do. But Boyer couldn’t build it, he said. “I didn’t even know how to program at the point that I started with it.”
Because. Word. My first thought was: "Story of my life." Just substitute "2007" for "Summer 2010" and "Student Trade Justice Campaign" for "non-profit student organizations." I wonder how many others were inspired to learn web development because of similar motivations.
If anything, Google+ probably skews higher on the socio-economic scale, since it's easier to keep the riffraff out of your circles and discussions.
So yeah, Diaspora. The article is not well-written.
The ironic thing about this is that it seems very very closed in terms of sharing which I believe is a step backward.