OK, so a few weeks ago I announced to the world that my next blog post would be on the next “next big thing” in social media, the social network “Path”.
I duly sent out a message to all my nearest and dearest urging them to get involved so I could interact and test this exciting new piece of kit properly. After all, I don’t really see how I could test a piece of social media without the social interaction of my peers. 2 weeks post hence, and guess what my friends tally on Path currently is? A whopping great 1… My good Chum Nico. And he hasn’t even accepted my friend request yet dammit. One fine day.
However despite these monumental setbacks I carried on regardless, friend free, and tested what I could. And I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. Regular readers of this blog (Hi Mum) will know I’m normally a fairly skeptical chap about the glut of social networks out there, so I was keen to see if Path and I would get off on the right foot as it were. Surprisingly it seems they have certainly taken a step in the right direction with this one.
The premise for the platform is relatively simple, Path seeks to act as a timeline for your life, through images, music, places and of course, interactions with people.
It’s with people that the platform differs markedly from Facebook and Twitter, and specifically the number. The network is pitched as a hub for close friends and family, so the maximum number of people you are able to add is 150… There will be no “I have 1,456 friends/ followers” here. It’s all about real personal interaction, without being bombarded by messages from that annoying couple you met on holiday 10 years ago or such like.
It’s about the people you really want to talk to. The 150 limit is probably still too many for my needs, but I like the thought that I can review what the people I actually care about are up to in a more private manner, and they can see what I am doing, without my having to splash my holiday pictures all over the web on Facebook, for every punter I haven’t spoken to in years to see and comment on the size of my ever expanding paunch.
So obviously limited friend numbers is one major difference for the standard set, and one I’m keen on, but what else does it actually do?
Firstly there is the obvious status updates, which are known as ‘Thoughts’ on Path. Nothing revolutionary here, with standard location and contact tagging, as you would expect. Let’s move on.
The next update option is a good one, and my favorite function of the whole platform, and it comes under the header ‘Music’. Here Path has rather a nifty trick up it’s sleeve. First off, if you so desire, you can enter the song name and search for your favorite tune , and play it direct from the app. This then sets up an update under the heading ‘How’s the Music’ where you can add your comments, who you are with and location.
Pretty Cool huh? Well it doesn’t stop there kids! Path also has the option of using Shazam style song recognition software for these updates too. This means, rather than frantically trying to type in the song name to post an update while at your favorite bands concert you simply press the microphone option and Path takes a reading and does the rest – locating the song details from what it hears – a very neat use of existing tech to make sharing easier. Love it.
You then have the options to dawdle through the rather ordinary places and people updates which are very much as you would expect, along with the useful addition of a Camera option which has, yes, you guessed it, Lomo style effects and filters as per Instagram – what camera doesn’t these days eh?
However there is the option to view these lens options as you take the picture, not only apply them post having taken the shot, which is a nice addition in my book. There is also the option to purchase additional lenses too, if you so desire and some of them are pretty fantastic. Check out the below picture I took using “The Grid” Lens. Not one I have seen before anywhere else and makes a rather mundane desk shot look ultimately more interesting!
App Design and Functionality
So the app has got some nice features under the hood, Fine. But what does it look like and how does it function?
Well I’m pleased to say it’s 5 stars again here for our chum Path. The design of the interface itself is beautiful, with the simplicity of the timeline layout being a joy to interact with – far superior to the FaceBook version.
Interactions are executed using one single button to the bottom left of the screen, a small plus, that on pressing gives you access to all of the update options previously mentioned, via a funky and dynamic pop out menu. It just all feels so slick.
Do you remember the first time you trashed something on an IPhone, and you saw the little bin open and your document sucked into the trash can. Remember how cool you thought that was? Path has the same kind of feeling. It’s a thing of beauty.
So should you sign up?
Well my friends, from my gushing review I am guessing you think you already know my answer here, and I am not going to disappoint you.
This is by far the best new social network I have seen and it is really a joy to interact with.
In the music functionality it has developed I believe it has something that is way beyond the social offering of Spotify’s integration with Facebook, just because it is so easy to use. On the App itself, the interface is amazing, and everything just works as it should.
However Paths problem is and will be, that (not withstanding the music functionality) it doesn’t do anything new that is really revolutionary. It does the same as a number of other platforms – just a whole lot better.
Path’s problem is pretty well summed up by my own experience.
2 weeks in and I have 1 friend. Perhaps people just don’t need another social network, even if it is better. They have Facebook, they may even have Instagram, but they aren’t sure they can handle another – when will it all stop, eh?
So in short – should you sign up for Path? Definatly. It’s amazing and great fun to use.
Will you bother? I doubt it. Facebook will catch up eventually, won’t they?