Take the Path to the (anti)social network

Sick of sharing your photos on Facebook with the smelly bloke from the pub whose name you didn't even know until he friend-requested you?

If so, The Personal Network from Path could be the answer.

With some heavyweight social media players behind the venture: former Facebook senior platform manager Dave Morin, Macster co-creator Dustin Mierau and Napster co-founder Shawn Fannin, Path has finally come to life courtesy of its iPhone app.

Path isn't trying to be a Facebook rival, or even a competitor to picture hosting services like Picasa or Flickr, as it isn't interested in big numbers and mass messaging.

It limits you to just 50 friends so "you can always trust that you can post any moment, no matter how personal".

Basically, you snap away on your iPhone or iPod touch's camera, and share the pictures in real-time with your closest friends and family.

You can tag and and add content to the pictures that you snap, and you can even get notifications once your circle of trust has taken a butcher's.

"So why 50?" you may ask. Well, it's all because 150 is apparently the maximum number of social relationships that you can have. "Why not 150?" is probably your next question (it was our's). We'll let Path explain that directly:

"We chose 50 based on the research of Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology Robin Dunbar, who has long suggested that 150 is the maximum number of social relationships that the human brain can sustain at any given time. 

"Dunbar’s research also shows that personal relationships tend to expand in factors of roughly 3. So while we may have 5 people whom we consider to be our closest friends, and 20 whom we maintain regular contact with, 50 is roughly the outer boundary of our personal networks".

Got it? Good. Let's move on.

Path for the iPhone and iOS (and stretched and pixelated on the iPad of course) is out now, free in the App Store.

Give it a bash, and let us know what you think? The next big but small social network? Use the comments below to express your opinion.