Path: Social network that limits your friends to 50

How many friends are on your Facebook account? At present I have 1,013 friends. It is an aggregate of the following social circles: family and blood relatives, classmates and friends from grade school, high school and college, acquaintances from organizations, interest groups, political parties and the blogosphere.

I am proud to say that 80% of them I know of personally, as I’ve always stuck to my rule that only personal acquaintances would be added and invitations from the same will be accepted in my Facebook account.

It helps to keep the network authentic, organic and meaningful.

But to be honest, it can be daunting to organize and manage 1,013 connections.

Making the social, personal

A new social networking hub aims to solve this particular problem. It’s called Path.com and behind it is a former Facebook executive Dave Morin. The unique thing about Path is that it limits you to having only 50 friends on the service. It’s photo-centric and an iPhone app is now available.

Morin explains:

Facebook set out to be a social network of the real world full of friends and acquaintances together.

Facebook is about society and I think the need we are seeing at Path is that people still want to share more and share more openly with the people they trust the most and that is why we put this 50 limit on the service.

The idea of limiting friends to just 50 was inspired by the research Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University ((Social gets personal as new network limits friends. BBC)) .

According to him, the maximum number of social relationships that a human brain can sustain at a given time is 150, while 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks.

Looking back at my 1,013 friends on Facebook, the idea of joining Path and inviting up to 50 of my most trusted friends seems attractuve. But I only said keeping tabs and maintaining those relationships is daunting but not impossible.

The main issue I think is the question of what I want to share online and with whom? It’s simply a matter of trust.

A Path not for everyone

Professor Dunbar’s research means that about 50 is the number of relationships we can maintain that are on the most trusted level. If that were so, then I’d just create a group on Facebook of the “50 friends I trust the most.”

It would save me the trouble of setting up a new account on another social networking hub and invite my friends over. Which in itself is no easy feat. Some may not warm up to the idea of joining another social network. Those whom I may not invite over may become jealous all of a sudden knowing that he or she is not in my most trusted friends. Well this is just my take on it. I’m sure Path will be of some use to other people, some may be even at home using it.

What about you? Is the so-called threshold of 50 friends in your “inner-circle” enough?

3 Comments

    1. Did a head count and family + high school friends alone already filled the slots.

      And I’d hate to say to a friend of mine: “Sorry, you’re number 51 on the list. Better send me more gifts this Christmas if you want to make it in.” Or something like that.

      Reply

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