With the reimagining of Path in its latest release, I’ve been really thinking not so much about how far it has come since it first showed up on the app scene but how far social networking has come since it first appeared on the scene.
Let’s just say that I think the users have matured and not all of the things they’re using have.
The way I’m using Path is intentional — and sparse. I am wondering if that’s the team behind it wanted. If not, they’ve made a calculated error because with such a low amount of those that can be followed by a user, you’re not going to be as present on Path as you would on one of the larger networks. There’s no need to.
I really like that.
I don’t feel as if I’m missing anything by those who I’m following on Path. I can check in even once per day and see how their day went, marking their activity as I see fit and then close the app. It’s almost liberating in that I am being social and yet anti-social at the same time.
Checking in on one’s Path is like picking up the phone and calling them, except you get visuals to go along with the conversation.
Stamped is a lot like Path in that I can check in once daily and see how many of those I’m following have left behind a trail of stamps, likes and potential to-dos for me. No strings attached, no compelling need to credit in return. No baggage.
That’s not to say that won’t happen with Stamped. The only limitations with the app is how many stamps you get, which is directly impacted by how you use the app. Last I looked, I had 133 stamps in my inventory. I’m not hoarding them; I’m just using them sparingly and wisely. There’s a value to them that I have created myself. Unlike a “like” on Facebook or even a “favourited tweet” on Twitter, I’m careful on what I use them on.1
Social Networks and Me
I’ve slowed down my attention to social networks. It may not look that way to those following me, but I am. I’ve started to really use Lists more on Twitter, and Facebook is being whittled down on my end as well. I’m leaving Groups, checking in far less frequently, and being more intentional with what I do there. The battle for my attention is almost over, and social networks of such a vast size have been defeated because of the sheer amount of noise they create.
I’ve strongly considered leaving Facebook altogether, but with connections to family through there and a presence that benefits my professional life as well, it’s not going to happen. But I’ve started using Facebook rather than just having it be the other way around.
All Growed Up
Perhaps Path and Stamped will get swallowed up by one of the bigger fish in the social media sea, but at least I know that I’m not going to. I’ve matured as a user, and wisdom has come along with that maturation. Social networks are only as powerful as the quantity of engagement opportunities you give them. The people behind them now don’t appear to be interested in quality engagement.
What happens when (or if) the users become more interested in quality than quantity?
1 Honestly, I rarely favourite tweets. On that note, whatever happened to Favrd?