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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Walk Down Path Takes You Home Sweet Home

I'm no stranger to the power of social networks. I have 3 books on Facebook and 1 on Google+, and have built an entire business around Twitter. So far, the majority of my current career is built around bringing attention to people and brands through social media (of course, while making them more personable).

As a result, I've built what some consider to be a considerable audience in the process. When I speak, there's a good chance people hear. When I share, people of all types receive, comment, and share my posts, many that I've never met. This comes at a cost though. Now I have to think twice when sharing pictures of my kids. I have to think carefully the personal, religious, or political posts I want to share, or when I just have a thought I want to get out of my mind. To be honest, I can't really share "me" as much as I like. That's why when Path recently did a Pivot towards being a "smart journal", I listened, and boy do I feel at home!

When I first started using social networks like Twitter, and eventually Facebook when they allowed people to post status updates (yes, Twitter offered that first, technically), I used them as a journal. Twitter, for quite some time, was a way for me to let my wife know what I was doing. I even used it to share the birth of my 4th child to my family. As someone who keeps a journal, but doesn't have the opportunity to update quite often enough, I found these sites a great way to keep an archive of my life, 140 characters or so at a time.

Unfortunately I've lost the ability to do that though. Facebook and Google+ have lists and privacy controls so I can target updates to lists of close friends and family, which I use, but I find there's a barrier there that makes me have to think of just one more step, one more learning curve, to allow me to share my most personal updates with my close friends and family. That's where Path comes in.

Path -- The Smart Journal for Your Life

Path, originally just a photo sharing app for the iPhone, has rebranded to become a journal for your life. There's one caveat though: it only allows up to 150 friends. This makes you think - "before I accept this friend request, do I really know this person?" or, "Am I okay with this person receiving my most personal updates?" With Path, I don't have to think twice before posting - I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what I'm about to post will only be seen by the people I want to see it, so it's much easier to share.

On Path, nothing is public. Nothing is visible to "everyone". Everything on Path is limited to your personal, real friends network. That's what makes it powerful! It's actually what Facebook originally intended to be!

Path Makes Your Journal Automatic

Path isn't just about sharing though. There are really simple ways to share photos, with Instagram-like filters (even premium ones you can buy!). There are ways to share really short videos of what's happening around you, and even filters for that. You can attach a location or friends that are with you. It's very feature-rich! Path is much more than that though.

Path focuses on automating your life's activities. As you travel from place to place and open the app, it notes the cities and the areas you're in (you can turn this off if you're uncomfortable with it). As I traveled from Salt Lake City to Anaheim to go to Disneyland, it noted that automatically for me. You can note when you sleep, and when you wake, and it will automatically notify your friends and yourself the temperature and weather outside when you wake up. It will also tell you how much you're sleeping. They're even rumored to be working on solutions to integrate devices like Fitbit to automatically track your health, sleeping habits, without any interaction from you.

Path Integrates Into Your Private Circles


I've know Dave Morin, founder of Path, since he was at Facebook and was one of the key players to launch Facebook's developer platform to the world (which in turn likely made Facebook the powerhouse it is today). He knows the power of integration. The cool thing about Path is that when you share outside of Path, it doesn't just share to the world. It uses Facebook's privacy settings to only share with the people that are in your Path friends list. This means only they will see it on Facebook.

I can anticipate many other integration points in the future - there is all kinds of information they could be learning from your various social profiles around the web and adding to your Path journal automatically for you. Imagine photos from Facebook getting added automatically for you, or places you visit being added automatically. Or what about Foursquare checkins? Who knows what they could add in the future - I'm excited to see what happens!

If you're looking for some peace and quiet in the world of public social media; If you're looking for a place you can feel much more secure about what you're sharing online; If you're looking for a way to journal your life, and share with your most intimate friends and family, go check out Path right now. I see a bright future for Path, and it will only take you home!

Path is available for iPhone and Android devices. Go download it and give it a try. If you know me look me up!

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