Cyber culture: A stampede away from the big networks


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The Independent Tech

The annual SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival in Austin, Texas, has become known for fevered speculation surrounding the next big thing in social media.

After reading a couple of complimentary pieces about an app called Path, I dutifully downloaded it, signed up, played with it and thought to myself "Yes, it looks great – but where IS everyone?” The large numbers using Facebook and Twitter seem to insure them against collapse – but what chance of survival does a brand new network stand?

Desertion may have led to the death of Friendster, but Facebook and Twitter may have the opposite problem – they're becoming too big, and numbers of friends and followers too unwieldy. You may think that no-one's using Google+, but people are; they've just created a more manageable clique and haven't included you in it. Path, meanwhile, limits your number of friends to 150, "to encourage high quality connections”. As far as social networks go, it seems less is more.