Will ‘no following, no friending Path’ work?

Alongside the more popular networking sites worldwide, certain specialized networking avenues online are also trying to carve a niche for themselves. Some of them leverage the existing vast audience base of Twitter or Facebook to let members access as many friends or followers as possible.

But if you are a touch worried about the potential privacy holes in the process and are keen to stay clear of them, there are options for that, too. I have discussed Instagram in the previous post in an effort to focus on choices beyond Facebook and Twitter. Here is another interesting photo/ video sharing network that you may consider for the purpose:

Share with only 50 at a time: Path, to put it in short, envisions itself more as an enhancement to its dominant counterparts in the arena. Users can log in to Facebook to locate users of Path to share with. However, the niche network limits the act of sharing to only 50 friends, at most. So you can do so in a selective manner instead of sharing with each person whom you know. And what has made them choose 50? The figure apparently is based on the research done by Robin Dunbar, Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Psychology.

Make sharing photos more personal: According to its chief executive Dave Morin, the idea is to make the process and overall experience of sharing your photos that much more personal. That’s what draws users like Laurie Percival from Los Angeles to the platform. She shares cute photos of her newborn baby with only 10 close family members through it. She quips: “It seems more private, and I use it for moments I won’t like to share publicly.”

Here are some visible constraints that are clearly there:

  1. Keep in mind the fact that your images will probably be seen on the relatively small screen of iPhone, so it’s advisable to stick to headshots and close-ups. Individual people or objects will be difficult to see with long-distance shots.
  2. Significantly, Path currently is not connected to Twitter as well as other more widely used networks and even photo-sharing platforms like Shutterfly. Also, you cannot post your Path images to Facebook itself directly. Your friends are required to check their compatible Path app or the website to view your images.
  3. For now, there’s no reciprocal friend relationship, no comments, no publishing photos to Flickr, no editing after you post, and also no global user search. ‘No following, no friending’ approach that Path has taken up, a sort of an antidote to Facebook, is fraught with challenges.

To put it simply, networks like Path and Instagram let the people focus on taking and putting up a photo, sans the ‘needless’ distractions of Twitter postings, status updates, or other extraneous information typically seen on generic social networks. Both minimize the number of buttons and options on the screen, to make the process uncomplicated and user friendly. Whether the approach works, remains to be seen…