A web to hang around
Truth is that social networks are nothing new and that the Facebook’s and Twitter popularity have a lot to do with the massification of internet.
Maybe the leading spots are taken with the most universal solutions but that does not mean that the market is closed for good ideas.
From the point of view as users, it is not weird to think that a social network is a type of web development exclusive for big corporations or at least for enterprises the IT industry.
That it needs an immense upfront investment and what not. The truth is that for most private social networks this is not the case.
When we say private or independent we imply a S.N. targeted to a niche audience: it can be your employees, your customers, a local or global community of professionals.
In any case, we are not talking about millions of users, just the ones you care for. Think of it like a forum but with the advantages and information model of modern social networks.
Creating a private social network works for the coordination or integration of your members using content management tools focused in: the content, connections and interactions of the user.
Is not that different from any other web development that requires user management, you’ll have to bring your own community managers and moderators.