Its been a while since I came across an app that makes me excited, one that makes me feel that it is here to stay. Path is one of them. Essentially Path is a smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love. Sounds like Facebook? Well, to a certain extend it is similar to Facebook, but personally, i think it has the potential to be the next Facebook on mobile.
Essentially what the app allows you to do is, to share with your Path friends any pictures, who you are with, where you are, what music are you listening to right now, your thoughts, as well as telling your friends when are you awake/sleeping. Before sharing about the features, I would like to commend on the really really neat user interface(UI) of Path. The color scheme is red which is already a plus point in terms of differentiating factor as compared to other social networks apps(Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook Messenger), and on top of that, it features very much like the timeline where you scroll down from top to bottom to see your path. No words is enough to do justice to the really neat UI, you have to see it for yourself. It’s sexy, I promise. =)
What really interest me about Path are actually 2 things (other than the really neat UI):
1. The decision to allow only up to 150 friends:
What this means is that, you can only have up to 150 friends that sees your Path. This ensures that you share good quality contents and you only share with those that you are comfortable with, like how you would share your secrets with your closest friends. This is important because unlike Facebook, one will practice filters towards the friend selection with Path and this will slowly consume Facebook’s role in my opinion. Facebook is perfect for those that do not undergo changes in their life stages but it will be a problem for those that go through various life stages, and thus have different circle of friends on their Facebook friend list, for example for my case where I went to college, and when I am working now. For different stages in my life, I share different things. And when I have different layer of networks on my Facebook, it makes sharing complicated. Today, because I have professional networks on my Facebook list, I am not motivated to share statuses such as “Twilight Rocks!” or “I don’t like my lecturer”, not that I meant them but you get the idea. Nowadays, I only share statuses that are neutral or politically correct and acceptable to everyone. I am even wary about the photos that my friends tagged me and sometimes I have to remove them from my timeline, simply because I don’t want my professional networks to have access to them. This is bad news for Facebook.
Path, on the other hand, made the correct choice by restricting how many friends you can have on your Path friend list, ensuring that the same thing that happens to Facebook doesn’t happen to Path. It allows sharing of social and fun content to your close friends.
2. The “Im awake/Im sleeping” sharing:
You can also tell Path when you go to sleep and when you wake up, and it will create an update with that data, and additional clever story-telling. Sleep for two hours and it might say you, “need coffee.” Snooze for ten and it could say, “Ready to attack the day!” Path has a novelist on staff, I’m told, to keep these little items fresh.
This simple feature allow you to share to your friends when you are going to bed and when you wake up. Its a simple notion of telling them “hey I am away now so don’t be surprised if I do not reply”, and the waking up sharing button encourages more social engagements with friends the first thing in the morning. When I see my friend ‘waking up’ on Path, the simple gesture of saying “Good Morning!” would come to my mind, and this social engagement is what I think would make Path stick. Another thing about this sharing is that, the app conditions you to share on the app before you go to bed and to share the first thing in the morning. This is a very strong feature because of the element of conditioning. Conditioning is a means to modify one’s behavior through constant and repetitive behaviors and engagement. When we are conditioned to share everyday when we go to bed/early in the morning (if we choose to since the app doesn’t forces you to share), when you have an experience to share (e.g. you are at a concert), because you are conditioned to share on Path as compared to sharing with 1001 other photo sharing apps (e.g. instagram).
This, is a powerful feature.
Path is founded by an Ex Facebook employee Dave Morin who was part of the team engineering Facebook Connect. The team received a neat funding for the app, and has more than 1 million users to date. So yeap, download it and add me on Path @ Jacky Yap and join the new cool! =) The UI will blow your mind away. =)