Do they maintain it themselves, applying patches and whatnot?
Is there enough storage, bandwidth and processor time for them all?
And they're willing to pay for the hosting?
If so, bravo.
Convenience goes a long way. Hell, convenience is the entire way.
Social media services don't do anything by themselves except make things more convenient. (Be they posting pictures of birthday cakes or shooting yourself in the foot.)
I'm posting this as another message, as it's a more constructive idea even though I think it's a bit silly:
You've hit upon something. Let's say e-mail is the solution. But folks won't like the lack of the features they've become used to on Facebook: the timeline constructed from other folks status updates, the picture gallery cascade, videos, links, discovering new groups, the real time chat, simple urls.
Then... is the solution to write a wrapper over e-mail that presents a Facebook-like interface?
Folks don't honestly give a shit about how Facebook works. They care about what it looks like and what it does. To them, Facebook is its interface. So if e-mail is better: is there a way to make e-mail more Facebook-like for them? This is just me thinking aloud.
You want them to email large images to each other?
That's a lot of bandwidth and storage, and you're not getting facilities like auto-resizing for smaller devices.
And how is that going to scale when you've got groups of people in the three digits?
What's the alternative?
Let's take three people, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Brown. They want to share pictures of cakes, share lighthearted gossip about Mrs. X's wedding, see pictures of other peoples cakes. Then you come in and make a reasoned case against Facebook, it doesn't matter what that case is: let's assume that you convinced all three, at once, to never touch Facebook again save to inform their contacts that they're leaving. They delete whatever accounts they can, and trust FB (wisely or not) to deactivate the rest and dispose of it however.
Now, Smith, Jones and Brown all turn to you and say 'Alright, no Facebook, no FB app, it's all gone. Where do I go to do all the stuff that I would have done on Facebook? Real time chat, picture hosting, messaging, silly stuff, groups. It's not the 90s so we're not using "Yahoo!" but what do we do now?'
What do you suggest to them?
!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH