No disagreement here, NFiorentini: Forming groups to share the costs would work, as well. I merely think that the mechanism for collecting that payment ought to be included in a social network implementation, perhaps an extension to the Diaspora code.
I only mentioned advertising as one of the four monetization examples (among credit card, PayPal, etc.). Personally, I agree that I would like to avoid the advertising model. The person or business who pays money is the customer. The targeted audience is the product that the media sells. (I think "attention economy" is the term I learned from Wikipedia.) E.g. Google gets paid via advertisers (its true customers) and sells the attention of its users (its true product). The point in having a monetization model beyond advertising is that I, as a user, would be come the customer, not the product, and removing the motivation for the social-network node owner from selling my information.
timothy has eloquently expressed with good detail what I believe. I have told friends, family, and acquaintances that the pinnacle of social networking will not be another centralized offering, but a distributed model. This is nothing new: the FOAF (friend of a friend) protocol with its cousin, the Semantic Web, was bandied about in the '90s, and in more recent, pre-Facebook days by Tim Berners-Lee.
I cheer loudly for Diaspora but I'm painfully aware of network effects: Facebook already got grandma and grandpa, a herculean tech task in its own right, and I doubt the confusion of an anti-statist social network protocol will get many friends out of the gate. I'm still cheering for it, though.
Finally, I strongly believe that half-hearted, amateur implementations of new social network nodes will damage the "brand" of distributed social networking. There needs to be a monetization tool ready from the start, be it advertising modules, e-commerce and credit card processing (unfortunately), PayPal hooks (frightening!), BTC—whatever. A good start to distributed social networking can't depend on the work of the good graces of some well meaning hobbyists donating server space.
The loss of Tradehill and the security breaches of other exchanges disrupted the confidence in using Bitcoin, but the protocols remained intact. I see this as a testament to the design of the system, even though a fundamental quality for any currency is the confidence of its users.
As a Bitcoin lurker (I've never owned anything more than 2 BTC), I've been intensely fascinated in the potential of this "currency." Without belaboring the great qualities of a decentralized currency, it has attracted a speculative class of users that have rushed into centralized exchanges using nervous money transmission providers. The irony is not lost on me.
Tradehill's departure and what I believe will be an eventual international agreement hobbling Bitcoin's biggest exchange Mt. Gox in Japan (a la UBS in Switzerland), due to tax evasion, ought to serve as a cautionary note to Bitcoin users. Money transmission is a confiscatorially regulated practice. Bitcoin's best hope ought to be transactions as decentralized as the protocol it uses.
Lurkers such as I can only hope of an ecosystem or application so widespread, so diversified, secure enough, and easy to use before Bitcoin can be considered useful to most internet users. I dream of a decentralized Facebook knock-off (e.g. diaspora*, etc.) with a Bitcoin client built in, making currency transmission as simple as tossing a dollar to a friend to buy a cup of coffee. Perhaps even at a coffee shop with patrons casually swapping US$ and BTC as they play chess or read.
My wife, a public school teacher, would *never* consider allowing her students past and present to be Facebook friends.
With G+ and its circles, the idea of including students in her online social network is now more amenable. Teachers will now be able to reach out to students past and present in profound ways: topical blogging, supplemental curriculum, links to educational material and news articles—and no worries about pics from college days, dubious turpitude, or expressions of personal beliefs. It has been a wise school-district policy to not use any online social networking services to interface with students, but with circles, perhaps this policy can be revisited.
For most app development, I would be comfortable applying Pareto's Principle. I don't have any data, and unless I'm mistaken about how fractured the Android OS implementations are, then I imagine that 10% of my effort would work on 80% of the market. The rest of the market would be considered fringe and not worth a return. Caveat Emptor for those who bought those versions.
Finally, given time, there will be some certifications across vendors to assure compliance. It's messy, but that's the cost of freedom and access. It beats dictatorships and walled gardens.
Salt Lake City is working on the problem. As a member of a neighborhood community council, we're doing our part working with the city on accommodating bicycles with lanes, trails, and awareness. (This is the *city*, mind you... I don't know about the county or other municipalities.)
The mayor is an avid cyclist. He doesn't take kindly to motorists who derive pleasure at intimidating cyclists.
Still, as we can all agree, the issue is cultural. For daily commuting, I would enjoy riding my bike, or an e-bike, or anything, but the all-out nasty treatment from motorists keeps me a motorist, too.
Elegance and truth are inversely related. -- Becker's Razor