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Path: The Anti-social Network

It seems that some of us may be growing tiresome of the typical social networking sites like Facebook and Google Plus. We see it in our campaigns and we hear it in the feedback from users. Since these platforms allow businesses the ability to market to consumers based on opt-in handshakes we are beginning to see cultural shifts in how people want to communicate.

The latest stat is that every person on Facebook has ‘liked’ over 250 Pages while reporting an average of 229 friends.   It’s quite the experience we have now, especially on Facebook.  Unless you have mastered the ‘friend lists’ or have ‘hidden’ certain content then you may find your feed a little bit ‘spammy’.  You can see this everyday as the majority of our information found in our news feed reflects world events, political lines and everyday rhetoric.

Introducing Path

For the past 6 months I have been experimenting with something new.  Path is a social network that limits the number of friends to 150 so that you can streamline your communication and life events with a small subset of ‘close’ friends and family without the hassles of overabundance.  Afterall, an average of 7% of our Facebook friends we have never even met.

In short, from their site you can read this statement.  “We are inspired by Professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University, whose research delves deeply into the number of trusted relationships humans can maintain throughout life. We tend to have 5 best friends, 15 good friends, 50 close friends and family, and 150 total friends. At Path, we’re building tools for you to share with the people who matter most in your life.”

I have not reached 150 in my potential network on Path but I am switching my mentality from quantity to quality.  As I build this network, I am shedding the common interest of  ‘share with all’ to ‘share with few’ which, of course, is an internal challenge as well as a external necessity.

My question is what will happen when I reach 150 and 151 is important to me as well.  Do I now have no other option but to weigh the relationship bonds within my Path or do I simply let 151 know that I am all full up on friends.  Please standby for next available opening.

I wonder if the enriched social media user will begin to depart from mainstream channels and move to protected, no commercialized, networks to improve quality of communication…and life.    Moreover, how can we begin to imagine new ways to identify strategies based on closed user networks.


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