Every now and again you stumble across a blog or a site that truly enrichs the way you think. Every single post on Neil Perkins' blog 'Only Dead Fish' makes my brain fire. This week's post is on the app Path a network that caps your friendship group to no more than 50 members. Here's a snippet and a link:
Since its redesign, Path has gotten a lot of attention. Many would say that having created a ground-breaking piece of mobile UX this is deserved. I've had Path on my phone for a good while but not really used it. The redesign has tempted me back to play around with it, but it's not yet something I open up regularly, partly because I'm not sure what place it has in amongst all the stuff I use on a daily basis. That may change, but for now that's how it is.
One of the interesting things about it though, is that it was designed from the outset to be an intimate network. When it began, the number of people you could friend on it was capped at 50. They've since relaxed that limit to 150. But they're still clear about where that reasoning comes from:
"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've been interested in networks for sometime now. The influence of the intimate network of those closest to us has a profound impact on behaviours across a broad spectrum of health and emotion (smoking, eating, alcohol, weight, happiness to name but a few). The work of Christakis and Fowler is wonderful: