According to my Path, I’ve had 121 moments over two years. I first downloaded the app out of curiosity when it launched in the fall of 2010, but didn’t use it much until recently. As I’m sure you recall, I live in lonely early adopter land as many of my close friends and family aren’t new app-savvy — so my first barrier to using Path was that I had very few people share it with. Sad, I know. You can feel sorry for me, I won’t mind. My second barrier was that in its first iteration, I couldn’t figure out how it would fit into my already active social sharing life on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I’ve since changed my tune and now sing Path’s praises, even cajoling my mother to join. Successfully, I might add!

Before I enthusiastically launch into exactly why I’m enamored with Path, I’ll give you some background on what it is. Basically, Path exists as a way to share your life with close friends and family from the comfort of your mobile device. To do this, it limits the number of people with whom you can share your life details. (If you add lots and lots of people on Path, you’re doing it wrong.) You can share photos, location, who you’re with, your thoughts, what music you’re listening to. Even when you’re going to sleep or waking up. It is a very intimate app.

But back to me. How did I pivot so determinedly on Path, you might ask. My conversion began when Path 2.0 launched in the fall of 2011. It. Was. Beautiful. (Remember, aesthetics get big points with me.) It was also completely different from its first version, moving beyond just selective photosharing to a being a true social network. I’d never seen an app behave the way it did, so fluidly, seamlessly, interestingly. However, I still had the problem of not enough friends or family on it to make it worth my while.

Fast forward to a few months ago, my beau added me on Path since, as he put it, we needed ONE MORE social network to be connected on. I started to interact with the app more, but I was still shy. Even though I’m active on Facebook and Twitter, rarely do I share my actual location for safety reasons. One thing I didn’t like early on (and still would appreciate a way to disable) is how Path automatically shares your current location when you interact with it. UPDATE: You can actually disable this setting online and in the app. I’m just dense.

I halfway jokingly tweeted the other day about the puzzle that is reconciling what to post between Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Path and Instagram. When I began using Path, I really wasn’t sure where it would fit in. When I was trying to on-board my mother she inquired how it differs from GroupMe. In her experience that makes a lot of sense: why would she need Path to keep up with her connections when she has an on-going group chat with us? Touche, Mother. (She still downloaded it as I said above, and it is really cute when she uses Path. I mean, really!) For my part, in the short while since I’ve upped my Path usage, I’ve used Facebook less; I still tweet the same amount; I put most of my pictures up on Instagram, saving the super special ones for Path; and all but ended my check-ins on Foursquare, favoring a more edited audience to know where I am at all times.

Beauty and social sharing saturation aside, I think what I appreciate most about Path is how it is entirely contained on my mobile device. My Path is not searchable online and people can only view my Path from their own phones. Like Pair in this way, I really value how mobile-centric apps are staying strictly on mobile. A truly personal network, if you will.

In April, Path announced that it had raised another round of funding, to the tune of a cool $30M+. Since I’m clearly a believer now, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what the team does next. Now if I can just convince my father to join!

facebook for iphone: OH COME ON.


Rarely do I rant. At least publicly. People who are close to me will tell you that I will spout off without thinking, but at least that is in private. However, since I’m now writing about mobile apps on a (semi-) regular basis, apparently, I’d be remiss not to take a moment to address the horrible, horrible Facebook for iPhone app.

Their mobile product has always been lacking. It took them quite some time to develop their iPad application, which was hiding in plain sight for MG to discover. The developer who built the product was forced to watch it sit on the back burner five months after finishing it. The iPhone app has been going downhill since October 2011, as documented on several forums (including a page on Facebook, naturally). This makes no sense to me if the mobile user numbers reported on back in December 2011 are accurate; and they are. Wouldn’t you want an incredibly large section of your users to be happy? Wouldn’t you want to capitalize financially on that untapped resource? Apparently not. From Facebook’s IPO filing:

We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. Accordingly, if users continue to increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, our revenue and financial results may be negatively affected.

Baffling. And infuriating from a user perspective.

An informal poll at a dinner party I attended tonight found that 95% of the people there are frustrated with the app. (The other 5% accounts for the gentleman who hails from the Valle de Noe and doesn’t use Facebook.) The complaints are all the same: slow, doesn’t load, stalls, crashes. A question has been posed on Quora beseeching an answer, but you’ll notice the thread is quiet. A more recent answer on a separate Quora thread echoes what seems to be the overall sentiment and one that Facebook needs to address soon. Else I’ll need to take a break from it permanently before I have a rage induced stroke, as only technology can produce.