I read @Mike the Friendican
about building the federated social web and nobody wanting it sounded very familiar.
For years, I've been developing a PHP application to manage LETS
groups, it's called eLAS
(only available in Dutch). Though eLAS itself is a huge success, I asked my user base about their need for more tools to communicate over the borders of their local LETS groups. The overwhelming answer was yes.
So, I set up a status.net instance and even build integration with eLAS to make it more useful. I opted for statusnet as many users where familiar with Twitter and the limited featureset would help keep the load on my server down.
Guess what, a year later, it has only a handful of users and the only active posts are either from myself or automated posts by eLAS.
I really have no idea about why exactly it failed, but giving those users what they say they want did not work out at all... Instead, they are building their own groups on facebook limited to their own groups and locked in to a system that sees them as a product to be sold (everything the LETS philosophy counters).
</end my rambling>