Facebook and Twitter are so big that we often forget there are other social media sites beyond the horizon. Most of these cater to niche crowds or at least a desire to move away from Facebook. In fact, its subtly apart of their pitches, with privacy almost always the most highlighted feature. I decided to give Path a try to see what one of the more popular of these sites was all about. One of the reasons for this, is that Path is designed with exclusivity in mind. If you remember hearing about the Dunbar theory of social networks, Path abides by this law with a cut off of 150 friends. In the theory, Dunbar claims that a person is able to have 150 relationships, with 50 trusted friends, 15 good friends and 5 best friends.
Before abiding by Dunbar’s theory, Path set the cut off at 50 friends; though once it increased in popularity, the site tacked on some more breathing room. What I like about Path and the Dunbar theory, is that it takes raw, real life social interaction into consideration. There’s often talk of the different personalities people create for themselves on various social sites, though Path creates an environment that is intimate enough for users to be the person they are when the wi-fi is down. In fact, Path is only available on a smartphone, which practically encourages users to go out and share their ‘real’ lives with friends they love and trust.
Currently Path’s revenue stream comes from iTunes song purchasing and its premium camera lenses that offer users unique photo and video filters. They hope to continue offering more small services like these, but I can’t help wondering when marketers will step in. Users can already share their location similar to the way they can on Foursquare, they can post what music they’re listening to like Spotify and snap and share pictures like Instagram. The app also lets you share everything to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare. As Path increases in popularity, they’ll have to do the same creative thinking all these other social networks had to do.