Ironic or brilliant that I was reading The New Yorker’s Mark Zuckerberg profile the moment Diaspora launched its developer release? Ask anyone who I talk the Nerd to, and you’ll figure out that I’ve been counting down the days for this project to launch.
Look, real quick though, is one thing I was thinking about during this Zuckerberg article. The movie coming out, The Social Network, paints Zuckerberg as a douchy socially awkward nerd. The writer of the book the movie is based on, Sorkin, is arguably kinder (arguably) saying, “The movie is not meant as an attack […] Zuckerberg spends the first one hour and fifty-five minutes as an anti-hero and the last five minutes as a tragic hero.”
Zuckerberg’s douche bag persona, which has been shaping well before this movie, is based on a lot of college IMs and other incriminating details that have leaked as a result of lawsuits. A popular example:
Zuck: so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
Zuck: just ask
Zuck: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
Friend: what!? how’d you manage that one?
Zuch: people just submitted it
Zuch: i don’t know why
Zuch: they “trust me”
Zuch: dumb fucks
Zuckerberg acknowledges his “sophomoric former self, he insists, shouldn’t define who he is now,” (The New Yorker, 9/20/10). I’d just quickly like to point out what Zuckerberg said in regards to the Facebook privacy controversy last year:
“You have one identity … The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly … Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
danah boyd went off on this point (and I shortly followed), by stressing the “I’m-a-white-male” privilege that sort of attitude exemplifies. I just think it’s funny, funny like “gotcha,” and worth noting that Zuckerberg made his bed with this one. Forcing one identity on people. Maybe we’d be more forgiving of his “sophomoric” past-self, and more willing to assume that he has changed because time has passed, but since we (and by “we” I mean his 500 million Facebook users) aren’t allowed more than one identity in our work/life/love/sex/freak/nerd worlds anymore. Neither are you, buddy.
So it’s in this context that Diaspora has launched. A “social network” that’s goal is to give users ownership of their digital selves. As your digital self is becoming a “realer and realer” thing– and by that I mean, not a segment of who you are, not a recreation, but something much larger and more fluid, like your human cells; having control of your digital self should be akin to a human right.
Read through Diaspora’s “Developer Release” here. I am particularly amped up about how they are working on “Facebook Integration,” as Facebook’s white knuckle grip on our personal artifacts (i.e. tagged pictures of the last 6 years of our lives) is a big reason people don’t migrate from the platform.
Anyway, so as I sit here drinking Erin’s organic cherry beer (thanks, Erin), I want to say cheers and good luck to Diaspora. The first social network that has truly excited me in years.