Diaspora was a project with huge promise, and that promise still remains. I think people were ok with some growing pains, but much of the design was not well considered. It was confusing to join and participate. Also — people join a network to connect. Privacy and independence should have been a feature of the network, its context. Instead, these attributes buried the capacity to connect.
That said, I still think these ideas are ripe for exploration. I always dream about what I thought pre-launch diaspora was supposed to be — a serverless and fully distributed network, a network where my relationships and even conversations are baked into my profile and blog, not stored anywhere but there. The server would just be a search/crawler to find people who weren’t part of your hyperlinked webring.