Social gets personal as new network limits friends
Published: 19th Nov 2010 10:20:42
A former Facebook executive aims to turn the world of social networking on its head by making it more personal.
Dave Morin's new company Path has launched a photo-centric social hub that limits the number of friends you can have to 50.
The aim is to enable more effective communications with people who are part of your trusted enclave.
It contradicts the ethos of most social networks which includes loose acquaintances and colleagues.
Path focuses on photo-sharing using mobile devices to let users share not just pictures but also memories and their daily activities via their iPhone or iPod touch.
"We believe the future of the internet is going to be more personal," Mr Morin told BBC News.
"It took organising all the information on the web by Google and making it social by the likes of Facebook to get us here where personal is the next phase."
Path aims to capture the daily moments in our lives, he said.
Mr Morin said he was inspired by a talk given by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-winning economist who has studied the nature of memories, particularly their relationship to happiness.
"Our ultimate mission is to make the world a happier place and we are trying to architect a product that brings happiness," said Mr Morin.
The magic number
Path arrived at the idea of limiting users to a network of 50 people following research done by Oxford University Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar.
He espoused that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships that the human brain can sustain at a given time and that 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks.
Facebook's approach and that of other social networks from Bebo to MySpace and Google Buzz is at odds with that thinking.
While the average user on Facebook has 130 connections, power users can average 1,000.
These relationships map your social graph offline and include friends, family, work colleagues and loose connections of people you 'friend' because they know someone you know.
"Facebook set out to be a social network of the real world full of friends and acquaintances together," said Mr Morin.
"Facebook is about society and I think the need we are seeing at Path is that people still want to share more and share more openly with the people they trust the most and that is why we put this 50 limit on the service."
Path's vice president of business development Matt Van Horn said it sees itself as a complimentary service alongside the Facebook's and MySpace's of the world.
"Networks have grown to become too large in scale and that means people start sharing with people they might not trust or truly know. That influences their sharing behaviour and changes entirely what they are willing to post and share online" said Mr Van Horn.
At the time of speaking to the BBC, Mr Van Horn had 3,171 friends on Facebook and 42 on Path. Mr Morin had 2,666 Facebook friends and 48 on Path.
Those involved in Path are not too oncerned that Facebook, the world's biggest social network with over 500 million users, could launch its own pared down service.
"We plan to play nicely with Facebook," said Path's Mr Van Horn.
Indeed one of the investors in Path is Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook.
Among the Silicon Valley heavy hitters who have invested in the company are super angel investor Ron Conway who also invested early in PayPal and Google.
Digg founder Kevin Rose is also involved as is Salesforce boss Mark Benioff and Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher. Company co-founder and chairman is Shawn Fanning, the creator of Napster.
A free app for Path will be coming to Android phones and the BlackBerry soon said the company.
Path said at a later date it will also be adding premium services that users can pay for.
"We fundamentally believe (from a business standpoint) that customers are better than users," said Mr Van Horn.
Photo-centric Path faces plenty of other competitors in the photo sharing field.
Instagram and PicPlz are two companies that have recently received a lot of publicity while Flickr is a long standing favourite and Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the web.
At 16:57:31 in SportCliftonville are odds-on to retain their Irish Premiership crown after hammering Glenavon 5-0 at Solitude.
At 16:54:35 in EnglandFive people including three children were pulled from a car moments before it burst into flames after a crash.
At 16:47:59 in SportEdinburgh paid the price for three missed penalties as they lost to the Pro12's bottom side Zebre in Parma.
At 16:44:47 in EnglandA sand sculptor is re-creating the Last Supper on a beach in Dorset.
At 16:40:54 in EnglandHundreds of people have been protesting against badger culling in Gloucestershire.
At 16:32:17 in HeadlinesGunmen have shot and wounded one of Pakistan's best known television presenters in the city of Karachi.
At 16:21:45 in SportFormer England captain Michael Vaughan says new coach Peter Moores will gel better with current captain Alastair Cook than he did with Vaughan.
At 16:03:39 in SportThree-time finalist Roger Federer reached his fourth Monte Carlo Masters final with a straight-sets win over defending champion Novak Djokovic.
At 15:54:57 in EnglandA new edition of Joe Orton's 1964 satirical play Entertaining Mr Sloane has been released to include previously unseen material.
At 15:53:51 in SportThey say in sport that you should never go back but I think the landscape has changed sufficiently for Peter Moores to make a success of his second coming as England coach.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Social gets personal as new network limits friends [Online] (Updated 19th Nov 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/109309/Social-gets-personal-as-new-network-limits-friends [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Two cars and two homes have been damaged in an arson attack in Banbridge, County Down.
Broadcaster STV has become the latest company to leave the CBI after the employers' body formally backed the campaign against Scottish independence.
Five people including three children were pulled from a car moments before it burst into flames after a crash.
Cliftonville are odds-on to retain their Irish Premiership crown after hammering Glenavon 5-0 at Solitude.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
The chair of the panel set up to advise the NHS and ministers on the governance of patient information has told the BBC the Care.data programme was mishandled.