How well do you really know your social media pals? I imagine it would be a bit overwhelming if you had to meet all of the people that you follow on Twitter or Facebook. According to The New York Times, a new service is working hard to connect you with only the people you know in person.
Dave Morin, who helped build Facebook Connect and the Facebook Platform, left the company this year to start his own venture, called Path. He says it is not another social network he has created, but a personal network, and on Monday, it will open to the public with an iPhone app for sharing cellphone photos with a limited circle of friends.
Each user cannot have more than 50 friends.
Path is a reaction to Facebook, where people must both agree to be friends, but can have thousands of them, and Twitter, where anyone can choose to receive a user’s posts.
“If you look at how these networks are grown, they start out really high-quality,” said Mr. Morin, “and as more and more people join, it becomes hard to find people you care about. With Path, you have to be friends with them in the real world in order for them to pop up on your screen.”
Path, along with the other apps, wants to build a broader mobile network, not just photo-sharing apps. It envisions people using a new mobile social network, in addition to Facebook, to share photos, videos and other things with a close-knit group. However, the rival apps differ from Path by offering software filters, which change the way photos look. They also follow Twitter’s model, so any user can see anyone else’s pictures.
Path is counting on people wanting a more controlled network of trusted friends. Mr. Morin chose the number 50 based on the research of Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist who tried to pinpoint the maximum number of people with whom others could have stable relationships.
Screenshot from Path