So we’ve finally hit the year 2012. And as at the time of writing this piece there are over 550 Social Media sites out there. Social Media has well and truly taken a firm grip on our lives and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be letting go. In fact, it will be the opposite, as our daily activities become more and more digitized and social media managed.
There are certain things Social Media does for me to help me with my personal daily activities.
Facebook keeps me in touch with everyone around me. Twitter keeps me in touch with not only friends, but my extended circles of interest. iTunes helps manage and play my music. Foursquare helps me keep up to date with all the latest local deals and in friendly competition with my friends. Instagram helps me become the perfect photographer. Tumblr is where I express my thoughts in my blogs (like this one!).
But now, there is a new Social Network on the block, and it allows me to do all this through one beautifully designed and presented user experience and user interface.
Path’s beauty lies in not only its clean simplicity, but also in the fact that it allows me to share my personal story, my life journal of daily activities not with the world at large, but only the people who are within my inner network.
The Path interface is smooth and makes everything look like it is in HD quality. When scrolling down through the Path timeline, and it really is a timeline with time stamps, the user is presented with a history of ‘moments’ that each user connected to your Path has posted. This provides the rich content of being able to keep up with the latest or previous ‘moments’ your network has to offer. Arguably, this is similar to looking at your friends Facebook Timeline. However, Path has taken everyone’s timeline and made it into a social timeline, rather than a news feed.
When selecting the action functionality on Path, the user is presented with 6 options:
Photos – this function opens up the Path camera and allows the user to switch between photo/video and record a new image / video or upload one from your phone. Once selected the user is given the option to use one of Path’s in-built filters, much like Instagram, to enhance their images.
Tagging – When the user selects the Tag option, they are first presented with their friends lists, and then offered the option of leaving a comment and tagging a location. Path has now made it easier and presented the user interface so beautifully, that the user wants to share their ‘shared moments’ with those around them.
Check-In – As with the Tagging feature, users can select their location then input a comment and tag friends with it.
Music – This feature allows users to let their network know what they are listening to. The first selections of songs that appear are based on what your network has previously listened to, and the search functionality allows users to select artists and their music. Once again, the ability to leave a comment, tag a friend and location are also present. Like what someone in your Path is listening to? With Path, you can now purchase music directly through the Path network.
Comment – The comment feature on Path is the exact as it is on the Facebook Status update or Twitter Tweet post. Without the character limitations though.
Asleep/Awake – A wonderful new feature that allows your network to see if you are available or not, this stunning function tells the world you are awake and ready to interact or you are asleep and not to be disturbed.
Once any of these features are used, the user then has the ability to post the update into their other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare, helping manage all these networks from the one platform.
One of the features I do find a little creepy about Path is that when you look at someone’s profile (their Path), that user is notified that you have reviewed it. Whilst this is nice to see who is interested in you, it can present a problem with the online stalkers who keep returning to your Path. However, it is understandable, because with Path you are not meant to add the world to your network, only those you want to share your personal journal with.
There is a theoretical number which states that our human brains can only sustain a maximum number of social relationships that are considered ‘stable’. This number is roughly 150. Path seizes the opportunities that Dunbar’s number presents and makes the user want to only build connections with those who they want to share their most personal experiences with.
We all got caught up in the Facebook craze of adding people to our networks who were not a part of our current lives. School friends we haven’t seen in 10 years, business contacts who requested to add us but we couldn’t say no, friends of friends we only ever met once – and yet we share so much of our personal activities without hesitation. Not to mention with all the information that Facebook provides to third parties.
Whilst I still think Facebook is an amazing social network, I have come to realise that Facebook for me now is more about business than it is about personal. Using Facebook as a cornerstone of your business’s social media strategy is a winning formula. Using Facebook as a person is becoming more and more difficult each day with the rapid changes, the thinking twice before posting your thoughts and sifting through Facebook’s terms & conditions / privacy policies which has become harder than learning quantum physics.
Does that mean I’m going to leave Facebook? No. Facebook has become an extension of my brain. It helps me keep up with all the latest events, it helps me remember everyone’s birthdays, and it helps me converse and engage with businesses. Not to mention all the benefits it provides my business, CosmicVillage.net, on the world’s largest social network. As such, I will keep Facebook and continue to enjoy its growth and what it offers as the more open Social Network (i.e. use Facebook as I would use Twitter – as a business communication tool).
For me personally, Path will be the journal I want my inner circle to see, and engage with.
Path is measured in moments, which makes each of the posts something you shared more special. Path allows me to achieve all my personal activities (Check-ins, music, photos) with those closest to me, so that they can interact with me on the personal level I know them for. And when I want to share something with the bigger world, Path allows me to post directly to Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Foursquare from the one application, avoiding having multiple accounts to manage.
I don’t work for Path, nor am I a representative of them. I just find Path a truly richer and more in-depth personal social network for all those personal moments.
The world doesn’t want to hear about or see what I’m having for breakfast. My personal connections do.