How to run a small social network site for your friends

Since August 2018 I have run a social network site called Friend Camp for about 50 of my friends. I think Friend Camp is a really nice place, and my friends seem to agree that it has enriched our lives. I’d like to see more places like Friend Camp on the internet, and this document is my attempt to provide some practical guidance as to how you might run a social network site like this.

Source: How to run a small social network site for your friends

This is a project by Anil Dash. It reminds me of the work of Robin Dunbar whose Dunbar Number theorizes the maximum number was of active relationships a human person can sustain. The project is an attempt to make accessible the knowledge to create bespoke, artisinal, social networks.

We once taught this stuff at the University of Denver, when we had a program called Digital Media Studies. At that time we found it difficult to populate new social networks with enough vibrance to be self-sustaining. I wonder if there is a minimum number necessary for this.

It brings to mind another social phenomena named by Brian Eno, scenius. His critique of the myth of the lone genius is that a scene, or a network of interpersonal relationships, facilitates creative acts.

I wonder what is the smallest number of humans, or of relationships, in a location that are necessary to support the existence of scenius? What are the spatio-temporal boundaries that parameterize scenius?


August 4, 2019