How Path became my favorite social app of 2011

Path is quite possibly the best social mobile application of the year. With Path 2.0, they bring together the best features of all the apps you already use and combine them into one slick interface and experience.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

I wrote about Path a little over a year ago when they were first entering the mobile social application fray. I liked their initial interface and overall creative vibe. To me, their initial version was like Instagr.am on steroids. I liked how it catered to those that like to keep their social content sharing more photographic and simple while having a basic topic component, meaning: Take a photo, attach it to a topic, and share it with a private smaller network. The photos in their previous version looked cool, similar to other apps that I liked, giving you the vintage look with saturated colors, etc.

I was using it off and on but it wasn't offering me anything in particular that made me want to use it all the time. So while the Path app sat neglected and lonely on my iPhone, I continued to use Instagr.am and others, and then uploading those photos to Facebook, tagging my friends and sharing a corresponding the photos to check-ins.

This activity was getting laborious as I also was checking into Foursquare to share the location-based experience with the same friends but on a different platform. Pretty soon I was spending so much time jumping back and forth between Foursquare for location-based stuff, Facebook for social interaction and Instagr.am for the unique looking photography aspect. I was approaching social overload pretty fast to the point of wanting to skip my phone into the ocean so I could live out my own version of Into The Wild.

On November 29th of this year, everything changed for me. I received the notification that there was an update to the Path app on my iPhone next to a bunch of the other updates so I went ahead and did the Update All option as usual. Later that evening I was at a restaurant, taking photos of my food like a dork, and I launched Path 2.0 thinking I was gonna get the same experience with maybe some more stability from bug fixes, etc.

Path 1.0 was a thing of the past. I used the new version that night and now it's starting to become my goto for sharing photos and content. Here's why...

Path 2.0 is simply awesome.

Path 2.x has taken everything I loved from various social mobile applications and combined them into a slick, unique, one of a kind experience that doesn't feel cluttered or noisy. Even after the onslaught of new sign ups and people I've connected with, seeing all of their activity, I don't feel as overwhelmed as I do staring at the Facebook waterfall of uselessness that my news feed has sometimes felt like it has turned into.

The social web and it's current culture cares about only a few things. As a I mentioned above, Path 2.0 combines all of them into one experience.

Interaction with content You can comment or assign a type of emotion via emoticon instead of just a "Like." One thing I like as well is that the idea of text status updates is not put at the forefront of the app. It really helps keep the noise level down as people seem to default more to photos, music and emoticon responses so there's not as much stuff to sift through and read.

Cool photography They built in a variety of photo filters similar to Instagr.am. You can also purchase additional filters if you like.

Music You can share what you are listening to on your timeline and your friends can listen to it and buy the song, all directly from the app.

Location check-ins If you aren't paranoid about your friends seeing where you are, they have this cool option in the Settings to automatically detect and share what neighborhood you are in. The entry on your timeline usually defaults to what city you are located. Like most other geo-location apps you can pick a specific location or business that you are in and choose from a known list.

Timelines All of the above activity is tied to your timeline. Facebook was one of the first to introduce the timeline concept for social activity on a grand scale. Path does something similar and as you slide up and down your timeline with your finger, a little clock pops up and adjusts it's own time on the fly depending on where you are in your timeline so you can see clearly the exact time and day you posted something. This feature was implemented very nicely in their new UI.

A breath of fresh air for social The folks at Path took the right approach. They paid close attention to what people really liked most in social and mobile and focused their efforts on providing a unique experience that included all of those specifically. I look forward to seeing their growth and how they help reshape the mobile space within social media.

Check them out at Path.com and download their app. Available for iPhone and Android devices.

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