If you haven’t heard by now, the new Path iPhone app is pretty awesome. It’s what Facebook should be but is now incapable of. It’s made me re-evaluate how I use social networks outside of Twitter. In fact, I wish it would replace everything I use except Twitter.
Random thoughts inspired by Path:
0. I don’t mind that it’s mobile only
Most of the time when I’m at my computer I’m working, and I use Twitter primarily for tech stuff. When I’m not at the computer is when I’m the most likely to want to share a photo or my current location or something non-geeky. Mobile-only social networks reduce distractions while at a computer too.
1. Cross-posting only goes so far
Cross-posting helps a lot. I don’t recall the last time I used the Foursquare app. I only use Foursquare to enable interesting things like Timehop or the mapping apps that used to exist to show you where you’ve been. I rarely browse Instagram too, mostly just sharing for my own posterity. But there are interesting things that happen on those networks that I wish the Path (or other app) could intelligently surface. I want a friendlier, smarter Friendfeed-like aggregator in my pocket.
2. After using the new app, I see why Google offered $100M for Path
The Google+ iPhone app is a joke in comparison. $100M is a lot of money, but not for Google considering their emphasis on social and their lack of design skills.
3. Path doesn’t have an API, does it actually help the service?
The last thing I want for new social networks is for them to be filled with content I’m already consuming on other networks. Increasingly my Facebook feed is filled with Instagram and Path posts, LinkedIn (remember them?) with tweets, Google+ with tweets, etc. If I follow someone in multiple networks, I’m bound to see their content more than once. APIs are what enable this, and Path so far has avoided it. I think they wisely are choosing to be the source of content, not the destination for it.
At the same time no API means no third-party Android or Windows Phone apps. Meh.