Photo-Sharing App Path Is Going To Piss-Off Social Media Addicts

PathDave Morin, founder of Path, shows off his TED2010 notes.

Photo: Robert Scoble

I didn’t read any of Path’s hype before trying it myself. I wasn’t part of the beta. I don’t owe Dave Morin lunch (he’s the founder of this new thing called Path that’s getting a deep amount of hype tonight. The photo is of him at the TED conference). But I was excited, mostly because Kevin Rose hyped it up a few months ago on Twitter.First, the hype.
Network Effect.
New York Times.
Los Angeles Times.

Whew, guess some PR firm was busy! (That amount of reporting doesn’t happen on a startup by accident).

My friend Jesse Stay invited me in. I instantly signed up as “Scobleizer” and started adding friends. Within a few minutes I discovered I can only add 50 friends. Oh, wait, my real friends and family aren’t yet on. So, now I have to delete some of the folks I already added. Sorry Matt Mullenweg. You didn’t make the cut. I needed to keep Ashton Kutcher. After all, Matt doesn’t impress my niece, but Ashton sure does! 

I find software with limitations interesting. Twitter was interesting because it was a blog tool, but one that forced you to keep to 140 characters. I remember having lots of fun trying to see how much information I could pack into a Tweet.

Now I have to pick 50 people. Screw Dunbar’s number that says that a human can have between 100 and 230 friends. No, Dave Morin decided we can have no more than 50.

Anyway, this is an interesting “walkie talkie” of the modern age. I can use it with my son, for instance, and let him see a photo of something I’m doing and he can send one back. I see if he’s seen the photo. We can see where the photo was taken. But there isn’t any text we can write back and forth yet.

Which gets me to the point. This thing will piss social mavens off.

Hell, it will piss off lots of people. Look at this tweet from @Starman: “Something about Path bugs me: if these friends are so close, why not just use facebook with a closed list?”

See, it’s hard to figure out who is on the system. Instagram is MUCH better done in this regard (you add your Facebook friends on Instagram. On Path you have to add people’s e-mail addresses. E-mail? Really? OK. The problem is my closest friends and family, like my brother Alex, don’t have an iPhone. So I can’t use Path with them).

Pisses me off again.

My wife? It’s hard enough to get her to try any new iPhone app, much less one that only lets her share photos with a close group of friends. She says that’s what she uses Facebook for. In fact, Facebook Groups do pretty much what Path does, except without the cool iPhone app. Hmm.

Anyway, this is an app that has me saying “hmmm.” If it weren’t backed by a bunch of famous Silicon Valley VCs and Dave Morin, former head of Facebook’s platform, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to it. What Meebo announced tonight is far more significant and interesting, actually.

Yes, this whole post will get me kicked out of the Silicon Valley hipster mobile app testing club, but so be it.

Path will piss off a lot of people. Ashton Kutcher likes it, though, he wrote that in the Techcrunch post about Path.

Me? This will get forgotten pretty quickly due to Facebook’s announcements in the morning.

Oh, and if you don’t like Path, please “Tip @techmeme.” Thanks. It’s one way to fight the hype.

Or, better yet, just get Instagram and use Facebook’s groups with your close friends and family. I bet they are already on Facebook, right?

UPDATE: there’s another MAJOR problem with @path: if you drop someone off of your Path list, they can tell. Zach Ware proves this. Now think of the social problems that will happen if you are on my list for a while, and then get dropped off. Say a family member gets dropped for someone else. “What do you MEAN I’m not your best friend anymore?” That’s really nasty for a system that depends so closely on only being used by friends and family.

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