Completely unrelated to big-budget, blockbuster hit movies, another social network recently came out. Hold the iPhone, I may have misspoken. Another “personal network” recently came out. There, now you can go back to your iPhone. (Or whatever it was you were just doing—listening to some Beatles tunes you just downloaded off of iTunes perhaps?) Before I stray too far off the beaten path, I’ll get right to the point. Path.
Path? Sounds Like Something for Hippies.
Not really. Right now, Path is a photo sharing iPhone app. The San Fransisco based team that started it says it’s “the personal network.” In a Mashable article titled, “With a 50 Friends Limit, Path Is the Opposite of Twitter,” Ben Parr writes, “Path calls itself ‘The Personal Network’ because it’s determined to go against the example set by Twitter’s follower model.”
Wait a Minute. 50? Did They Just Pull that Number Out of Thin Air?
According to Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar, while the brain can handle 150 social relationships, we can only comprehend up to 50 close or personal bonds. While you may know 150 people, you can only trust, value and become truly close with 50 individuals. This is why Path only allows users to share content with up to 50 people.
So is Path a minimalist version of Twitter built for control freaks—developed around some obscure theory by an ostentatious Oxford guy? Kind of. But there’s no following, no friending and no filters. Just picture sharing.
The Path Less Taken.
Path could be popular—but two giant obstacles sit in the way of its success. Twitter and Facebook. Although it’s often polluted with spam and other irrelevant, impersonal messages, Twitter won’t be going anywhere soon. And neither will its users who yearn to get their messages out to as many people as possible—not just to their closest friends. As far as photo sharing capabilities go, Facebook already has that covered. It may not be as personal, but it’s already being used by millions of people throughout the world.
The idea behind Path is great, though. The personal nature of it is something Twitter lacks. And how you can interact and capture moments resembles something out of a Facebook dream. (You can see which of your friends have seen your shared moments in real-time.) But, the start-up network won’t be able to take down, or hang with any of the giants. If anything, the goliaths, Twitter and Facebook, will engulf Path, and in some way, add its capabilities to their own. However, before that even happens, Path needs to get off the ground. Aside from Monday’s news, I haven’t heard much else about it.
You can download Path to your iPhone via the iTunes App Store. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still register and check it out through your browser.