Mobile social network Path has recently announced thirteen new API partners. Until now, access to their API has been an honor bestowed exclusively upon Nike, so this is kind of a big deal — but who exactly are the users set to enjoy these new applications, and what is it that keeps them sticking around?
For a platform built upon values of privacy, Path has had its fair share of blunders — one of which landed the company with an $ 800,000 fine. Despite this, the emphasis on privacy still seem to be a big draw for many users, from web-cautious technophobes to celebs in search of a private social arena.
High-profile figures — from rockstars to business executives —take to Path to share personal updates with close friends and family. As Path limits users to 150 friends, this is a platform that emphasizes intimacy, encouraging users to share “moments” with those who matter.
You can then post these “moments” to other social media platforms if you’re that way inclined, but that kind of defeats the point.
A purpose-built close-knit network might not be such a big draw for those who already have a private Twitter account and a selective handful of Facebook friends, but that doesn’t mean Path doesn’t have its advantages for such folk. User data is not monetized, and there aren’t any ads. (Yet.)
One “Pathifist” lists Stacks — a method of photo organization “which essentially creates albums around people, places and things” [Quora] — as one of their top four reasons for using Path. Still, you can actually do this with iPhoto, so it’s not exactly groundbreaking.
Perhaps it’s the simplicity, the design, or the refreshing lack of “white noise” on Path that keeps users coming back. And they really do keep coming back.
Above everything, Path users appear to be loyal: early adopters who are actually prepared to commit to another social media platform. Their devotion puts even Google+ fans to shame.
Inevitably, it’s also big with those who pride themselves on taking the road (or Path) less traveled. That’s right: Path is hipster territory. Of course.
And if you’re trying to predict where “social” is going, you’ll want to watch what happens . . . and maybe consider a “Path” of your own. The online universe may be about to experience a big bang with people breaking off into mini-communities. Don’t get left behind!
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