Path, the new social network that draws the line on friendships

Path startup photo sharing

Path, betting that many social network citizens would prefer an alternate route, limits user accounts to 50 friends. Image: CC scriptingnews/Flickr

The Path social network is a new online property that lets users share photos from their iPhones with their friends. But when it comes to friends, Path goes against the grain of current social network convention by limiting users to just 50 of them. Some say Path fills an important niche, while others say Path’s 50 friend limit will limit its chances for success.

Path limits iPhone sharing to 50 friends

The Path iPhone app is a new social network service that separates itself from a growing field of Facebook wannabes by allowing users to include no more than 50 friends in an account. It also takes steps to make sure Path iPhone photos stay private. While heavyweights like Facebook and Twitter tell users the more friends the better, Path is betting on a backlash from Facebook privacy issues associated with indiscriminate friending. Business Insider reports that there is a majority of people, primarily those over 30, who don’t like to be prodded by Facebook and Twitter to spread their personal information like a virus.

Why Path chose 50 friends

Path claims to draw on scientific research in its decision to set itself apart with a 50 friend limit. In a blog introducing Path, former Facebook executive Dave Morin wrote that Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar said “150 is the maximum number of social relationships that the human brain can sustain at any given time.” Dunbar suggests that personal relationships, on the other hand, have an outer boundary of 50 people a person considers trusted and valuable friends. Thus, Path lets users feel more comfortable about being personal than Facebook or Twitter.

Down the wrong Path?

Path is a social network dead end, according to Om Malik at Gigacom. Malik writes that Facebook already allows users to control their number of friends. He also points out that of the 50 people he may care about the most, half of them don’t use iPhones, the smartphone Path is designed exclusively to accommodate. He doesn’t give much of a chance for other Path competitors such as DailyBooth, Instagr.am and Picplz. All these start-ups have raised a ton of money. But money can’t buy you friends.

Sources

CNN

Business Insider

Gigacom

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