Kazemi published a thorough guide for both the technical tools and community building practices that go into creating your own small social media community. It can still interact with other communities across the web, but the advantages of this approach are fascinating and I hope to see more of it:
A small social network site doesn’t need a huge complex network of computers. One computer can be enough. Often it’s the kind of thing you can rent for $10 a month, or even run at home on an old computer you have lying around if you want.
For example, Friend Camp costs about $30 a month to run, it experiences about 10 minutes of down time each week, and it takes about 2 hours a week of my own time to maintain. I maintain the computer that Friend Camp’s software runs on. I’m training another camper to be an administrator as well, so if something happens to me there is still someone who can make sure the site keeps going. The site is funded by campers who can afford to throw a few bucks a month at a Patreon that I run just for us. It’s a small price to pay for a nice place to talk to friends on the internet.
As a result of these economic realities, Friend Camp does not have the annoyances of big social network sites. We sell no data, we collect no extraneous data, there are no advertisements at all, and no major features get changed unless I talk to the campers about it first.
Check out the guide, it’s well organized. I hope to see more of our communities leave Twitter and Facebook to build communities like this for us, not advertisers and data brokers.