roadrunnertwice writes a short essay titled Mothra is killing app.net that contains some good points on why Diaspora and app.net have trouble getting traction while trying to copy their more popular counterparts:
I don't think the people behind Diaspora ever understood any of that. They thought people were on Facebook because Facebook was a good app, and people actually wanted some atrocity that was kind of like Tumblr/Flickr/Twitter/LJ/toilet-
graffiti/emotionally-abusive-Gameboy except worse. That's manifestly not the case. People want everyone they know in one place, and the only way to give them that is to be evil. Which makes it impossible to replace Facebook with any less-evil alternative -- whatever eventually kills Facebook will win by being either MORE evil, or more SOPHISTICATEDLY evil. And since Diaspora was unable to compete with Facebook, it found itself competing with all the non-Facebook focussed-purpose services like Twitter and Flickr and DW and Tumblr, and it since it was built to be worse than all of them, you probably still aren't using it. Of course, you're probably not using Dreamwidth, either. You probably ARE using Twitter, and I'll be interested to hear app.net's plan for dealing with the fact that 80% of Twitter joined Twitter because all their friends were on Twitter.