How many times do we accept “friend” requests on Facebook and other social media networks out of politeness? We may not really “know” this person, but because we share at least five mutual friends, we feel somewhat obligated to accept. In the social networking world, even though we are protected by a computer screen, we still feel that we will offend someone by denying their request. However, a new social media program is taking a new approach to this annoyance.
Path, or “The Personal Network”, is a suite of applications that focuses on “intimate photo sharing”. According to the article via Mashable.com, Path limits each user to only having 50 “friends” or connections. The reason?
“Because your personal network is limited to your 50 closest friends and family, you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal,” the company said in its announcement blog post. “Path is a place where you can be yourself.”
The decision to stick with a 50 connection limit was also sparked by Oxford professor of evolutionary psychology Robin Dunbar, who claims ” that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships any human can handle.”
So could this be the answer to finally breaking away from our quantity over quality online relationship building (or collecting, depending on how you look at it) problems? We can only hope so.
However, I do believe there is Facebook hope yet. Recently, I asked any willing responder if they would either accept or seek out a friend request to someone they had only met once. To my pleasant surprise, the ten people that responded all said the it depended on the following:
- If the connection could lead them to opportunity
- If they felt they would encounter this person multiple times in the future
- If they were trying to motivate them to join or attend something
This reaffirmed my hope that we, the faithful social media generation, will slowly begin to migrate away from these plastic, online “relationships” and eventually move back to the real, face-to-face ones. Now if only we could get everyone to invest in those new Windows phones so we wouldn’t have to carry on conversations with the top of someone’s head. “Keep talking; I’m listening.”