After using a social service like Twitter or Facebook for a while, just about everyone falls into the quantity game. Even the new PicPlz and Instagram have created a game of getting your pictures liked and thus seen by more people.
Path for the iPhone is taking a different approach with social image groups. By limiting your circle of viewers to 50, Path becomes more about personalized photo sharing than trying to second guessing the masses to self promote.
By forcing a smaller group of people your social with, Path encourages photo sharing that is really a life story or stream of happenings in your day. Your friends can view and rate your photos, which interestingly you can see how people are viewing your photos too (called ‘Activities’). I do wonder if the feature of watching people spend time on your photos takes us back to being encouraged to take photos that people like rather than what you truly want to share.
Finding friends through Facebook is supported but Path doesn’t post your full image ‘path’ to Facebook, choosing to only support single occurrences posts. There is also the ability to upload 10 second video which to me takes the social service even more personal. I find myself doing more since I know I’m only talking to a small group of close ‘friends’.
Like the popular social photo services, you can apply ‘lenses’ to your Path published photos. There is an extra charge for lenses though so I usually touch up my photos in other apps and then let Path broadcast them out to my circle. When friends post images and videos, the Path app pushes a notification to me so I can keep up in close to real time. Since I have even less than the 50 allowed, the notifications don’t keep banging on me all day like when I had notifications turned on for Facebook.
It will be interesting to see how many people are truly interested in sharing with only friends and family and aren’t motivated by the shiny gathering of the masses. I still use all the usual big name social services to broadcast out my thoughts and fun pics which I know get lost amongst most people’s thousands of ‘friends’ they follow. But, Path has a secure home on my iPhone to help me interact with those close to me who actually want to be involved in my day… and in return they share with me images from their lives.