Is it really possible to have more than 50 actual, true, serious friends? The people behind Path, a brand new social networking service, don’t think so and have proposed a revolutionary new way of treating your digital friend list.
One of the most interesting phenomena that has surfaced in the Facebook generation is “friend creep,” the trend of an always-expanding friend list. Users commonly befriend everyone they went to school with, anyone they go on one date with, or even people they meet online. Some even go around sending random friend requests. It’s not uncommon for someone to have more than 1,000 Facebook friends.
Path says it’s going too far, and is placing the cap for its service at 50 friends. Its co-founder, Dave Morin, says, “You usually have about five people whom you trust most, 20 whom you consider your BFFs that you hang out with all the time and about 50 or so who are your personal network.”
The service won’t try to be a direct competitor to Facebook. Instead, it’s a lighter, more personal version of social networking. Designed specifically for mobile phones, Path is focused on sharing pictures with one another, and hopes to get users to realize just how unmanageable their Facebook accounts have become.
Of course, if your Facebook account is getting too unwieldy, you can always just go in and prune down your friend list. There’s nothing stopping you from creating your own personal limit of 50 friends.
The emergence of a service like Path is really interesting, since it highlights just how meaningless the word “friend” has become in the Facebook generation.