Path: The new Social network, that is just like all the rest.
Recently, another new social network has begun to make its rounds around the app stores and conversations, Path. Optimized for iPhone, Path is designed to, and I quote, provide “private messaging and sharing with friends and family.”
Right…but doesn’t basically every other social media site do that?
A couple of days ago I actually tweeted that I thought the app was irrelevant, only to get a response back from their social media team:
Beyond the cookie cutter responses their twitter monitor handed me, it became more and more apparent that they don’t even know what makes them different from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. They say it is optimized for mobile, but so is everything else. Sharing with family and friends? You can check that off too. I sat there and wondered why so many people are downloading it.
The creators of Path understand social media, and they basically hand selected different features from other sites, like check-ins, profile views, messaging, etc. The problem with that idea is the fact that those sites are already way more integrated into other peoples lives. To be a successful social media site or application you have to offer something innovative, something fresh. Repackaging other parts of social media sites into your own is a recipe for failure.
I’m not saying I’m capable of coming up with a social media idea that would change the way we currently use it, but take a look at it from this angle. Facebook has over a billion customers, and you’re going to try and offer a mirror image of an already successful product, in the hopes of stealing some of their customers? The reasons we use Facebook and Twitter, Facebook and instagram is because they provide different social media concepts. Path is just a rebranded version of Facebook, created by the guy that originally designed Facebook.
The other thing that I thought was incredibly odd about the app is the way they describe it. “A private way to share”, isn’t that contradictory in itself? Old versions of the app only allowed users to have 150 connects on Path, which from a business model standpoint is another blockade. But if you’re trying to share something, especially on social media, don’t you want as many people as possible to see it? We don’t share something on Facebook to have only 10 people view it. If I wanted that I’d send a private text message or email to those I’m close to. Path wants you to share with your family and friends (that you’re probably already connected with on a variety of different platforms, and god forbid, in person), but they restrict how many people you can be connected with? So now I have to go through and delete users from Path as more people I know want to join? This concept reminds me of an 8-year-old’s birthday party, where he’s only allowed to bring 10 friends to see a movie and has to decide which kid to kick out.
All in all, the application itself is smooth, I’ll give it that. It runs nicely and is beautiful. It allows just enough customization to make you feel personal, but also creates an atmosphere of class. However, that all being said, I don’t believe the application provides a unique enough platform to develop a solid customer base, which is the basis of all business.
What do you think?