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Alice McKee

Well, as someone who is single/childless and shock horror a WOMAN I consider you a 'Real Mate' though this is not the point I want to dwell on.

I agree with you Path is about having fun, it is a great way to interact with a small group of friends. I just wish I could get my family members and more of my close friends on it as I think it would be a great way to keep in contact instead of the random collection of Facebook 'People' I have seeing everything I write.

*Note I said, Facebook 'People' instead of 'Friends' as more than 3/4 of people who have added me are not friends, they are just nosey.

With this in mind, I am planning a major cull on my Facebook friends list, as I would like my Facebook to become personal again the way it used to be. This is what appeals to me most about Path it is personal.

Of course the user experience of the app is what makes me enjoy it and want to use it again and again. Overall my real mate, I am in agreement about your thoughts. Though I still enjoy a pint and a real meet up, but when time is scarce Path is a great alternative.

Daniel

[Warning: exceedingly long rambling comment that repeats lots of points and probably makes little sense]

First of all: yes, I do have friends! Real world fleshy friends who are greeted with man-smacks and pint-clinking. Honest I do. But only a few – so things like Twitter and Path and whateversnext are still incredibly nice things to have in my life.

Second of all: I agree with pretty much everything you've written. Russell's point about networking for shy people hits the nail on the head. I'm so much better at chatting away to random peoples online than I am in person. And although I'm not yet a shy dad, I can see the extra usefulness of Path once that does happen.

Third of all: I think my doubts about its purpose are simply as a result of it only having a small user base at the moment. I'd like it to be my A-list, but many aren't on there yet. So its currently a sub-group of a sub-group of a sub-group.

Fourth of all: telling people when you go to bed and wake up is a bit weird. I still do it though. Except for when I forget, and then it looks like I've been asleep for five days.

Fifth of all: there's a new type of friend that only really exist after a few years of doing this onlinery lark. Alongside real-world friends, work friends and old classmates, there's now this new group of People-Whose-Posts-I've-Commented-On-For-Years-And-Have-Random-Chats-On-Twitter-With-And-Stuff-Like-That-And-Yet-I-Don't-Even-Know-What-They-Look-Like. Such as you, Richard. Is friend the right word? Is there a a more specific label? Does one need coining? Anyway, Path is perfect that sort of relationship.

Sixth if all: the secret to getting the most out of any social network is to be clear in your mind what it's for, and keeping the number of people in your network at an appropriate level. For me, twitter is for speaking to all and sundry, and engaging in chats with anyone whose interested/interesting. Facebook is for people I've met in the real world. After a while, I think we all find our own Goldilocks number of followees – too few and it's just quiet and dull, too many and it's just noise (I aim follow 140 "characters" on twitter for example, because it also seems poetic and I'm a sucker for a techie pun). But these personal definitions don't come immediately – it takes time and experience with the network. I assume that Path's true personal function and Goldilocks number will present itself sooner or later.

Sixth of all, supplemental: I'm currently contemplating leaving Facebook altogether. I always intend to use it to stay in touch with my nearest and dearest, but it's more like observing them. Peering through binoculars at someone isn't the best way to maintain a friendship. Writing letters, emails, even – and I do hate doing this – picking up the phone once in a while, that's how you stay friends with someone. Path might just be the thing to pick up the functions of Facebook that I would miss.

I think that's it for now. Please carry on with your day. And get to bed at a sensible hour, won't you? I WILL BE WATCHING.

Chris

The smaller group of 'friends' is what makes it work for me. I always thought I was quite restrictive on Facebook with accepting friends but it was soon at 30+ and now my wall is just full of noise.

In Path on the other hand, through restrictions in hand sets and take up I have about 5 people I actually am friends with (some I see daily in real life) , and I am interested in what they are upto. that makes it nice, intimate, friendly and manageable.

I've got to say too, the interface some how makes me 'want' to use it.

Cheers

Richard

Thanks for comments Chris and Daniel.

Chris, did you see that Billionaire Hippy thing about Jobs? Stephen Fry said this something about the style of things being unquestionably linked to functionality and not, as the interviewer suggested, a peripheral thing. Path is a great example of this. The style makes you want to use it's functionality.

Daniel, that "Social Media Friends" thing IS a modern phenomena isn't it? I suppose it's like Ye Olde Pen Friends but way more prevalent. It could do with a new term. SMates? (No, clearly not that). Probably around 90-95% of my social interactions occur through Social Media. That's mind boggling.

Futurefabric

Some interesting stuff here. Hope you don't mind me wading in?

I think Path scratches an itch that most people just don't have and that's the issue. It looks great, but it's not really doing anything wildly different to pre existing social networks which I think makes people reluctant to invest their time using it. Much the same problem as Google+ has encountered.

Though to be honest as with any social networks, I guess it comes down to the people your connected to. Good connections = good content = a good experience.

I can see that a group of likeminded folk in a similar situation ie. dads with kids could have fun sharing things that are common to their situation. but that said, I'm a father of two and have given it a whirl and I just don't get its value!

Richard

Of course Mr Fabric, everyone's welcome.

Richard

What we need is for a specific Path-like Dad Club. A PathNing. Could someone knock one up please?

Mike Reed

Interesting stuff all this. I think a lot of what you’re saying about Path is how I feel about social networks in general, Richard.

I’ve always been better at writing then talking (although I am now capable of meeting a stranger at a party and producing a coherent opening gambit in under half an hour). This makes Twitter, FB and all that perfect for me. I’m also a bit of a show-off really, and love nothing more than an audience, which (or at least the illusion of which) these networks offer. There, now you know.

Path is a funny one. I like it partly on a dull, practical level – it makes it easy to fire off a post at FB, Twitter and 4Sq all in one go. And it’s a delight to use. (The sleep/awake thing is flat-out weird, and what’s weirder is how much I enjoy it.) So there’s that.

But you’re right, there’s currently a nice, tight-knit feel about it that doesn’t happen anywhere else. Oddly, until Sarah Brownrigg arrived on my Path a couple of days ago, all my Pathmates were men, and it felt very much like a boys’ night out at the pub. My love for boys’ nights out at the pub is pretty much boundless and eternal, so it scored highly on that point too. Although I must say, Sarah’s arrival did feel quite refreshing. No offence, chaps.

Whether this pub-table ambience will survive a gradual increase in Pathmates I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see. But then, Path is also quite close to FB for me. I’ve always kept FB personal — I just don’t get the stranger/friend thing — and I love that it keeps me in touch with the people I used to see in the pub, but now don’t because one or both of us has kids/has moved away/both.

So Path and FB are not too dissimilar for me. Although I feel I can post more silly trivia on Path, which I know from bitter experience annoys a lot of my FB friends. This puts Path pretty much plumb centre between FB and Twitter, and I like that place very much.

I mourn Dad Club a bit too — they were the only people ever to ask me to write a column, which you’d think I would have allowed to end only when it was prised from my cold, dead hands. But work and (oh the irony) being a Dad swamped whatever ambitions I had to become the next Clive James. (That and realising how much harder it is than you think.)

But of course, nothing allows me to ramble quite like a blog comment. Sorry about that. And see you back at the Path.

Darragh

I agree with everything too Richard. And it does feel like an 'inner sanctum dad club' at the moment. But I like that. That's not all though. Those of us on path who interact daily, weekly or whatever - we're like-minded. Not just because most of us are dads (sorry, automatically including myself in your group here - very presumptuous), but most, if not all are creatives. So for me being longer than most in the industry (like you) I use social media to stay in touch with people, trends, events, what's happening and generally for being nosey.

But - and here's where I get to my point - I really enjoy it. I don't have ANY mates for quite a number of reasons which I'll not go into here (maybe on path!), and like you my wife is actually my best buddy. That's good enough for me. I'm not a nerd and don't like gaming but when it comes to my profession (my biggest love) and anything remotely connected to it - I want to be kept informed and involved and the answer to this is social media.

Path gives me a virtual way to be at the pub, use bad words like 'poo' and actually feel like people value what I think and are interested in my nonsensical mutterings.

Think I better shut it.

Up Path

Paul

Great post Richard and when I get a chance away from work, dad and husband things I'll add a little more but in the meantime I'm just going to open Path and go to sleep…

Daniel

"Poo". Tee-hee.

Gareth Hammond

I recently deactivated my Facebook account for a number of reasons, one of which is that Path became the place I feel most comfortable in.

That sounds a bit rubbish. Put simply, Facebook felt like a big data capture experiment in which Zuckerberg et al constantly wanted to sell shit to me, or steal my details. And I had to wade through tons of inane babble just to get some good content. (And yes, some of that inane babble came from me).

Path feels like a nice warm pub in which I can enjoy a nice pint of ale with my mates (male and female). Weirdly, I recoiled in horror if someone posted "just been sitting on the sofa" or something similar on FB, yet I don't mind if the same is posted on Path, because that's the type of stuff you talk about with your mates in the pub. (Isn't it? It's been so long).

I also recently declined a request by a company to be my Path friend, because that's not what Path's for, is it? In fact, it really annoyed me that a person / company would try to infiltrate the homely surroundings of Path in such a cynical way!

Combine all of this with a beautiful UX and UI, and Path works for me. It has some faults (you can't click on links, bizarrely) but I can forgive it these quirks.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Paul

Most people have already covered more or less where I feel Path sits. I'm really enjoying using it, the sleep button is odd but like most I'm using it. I love the music option and wouldn't mind this changing to include movies or books but I suppose the chat option could be used fir those. I only wish they could integrate my favourite app, Instagram with it somehow.

Gareth's warm pub analogy sums it up perfectly for me, it really is a comfortable place to be, where you can chat have a little banter and not expect to be inundated with random nonsense from people you don't know. I have to admit I don't really know most of the people I'm following on Path nor do they really know me but as Darragh said we all have many things in common and that's where the comfort lies.

I enjoy the interactions on Path, they feel more human. While I'm also on Facebook (only recently I must add, as a university project) and have been on Twitter for a while, I don't really bother with them, there's too much 'noise' to many distractions, it all feels a bit impersonal which I don't particularly like. They have almost become necessary evils as many of my students will contact me through either beyond that it all seems a little pointless.

With a family, part-time lecturing post at the Art College and a freelance design business to run I don't have a lot of spare time to get out and socialise and to be honest I'm not a big socialiser anyhow, never have been. I would much rather spend my spare time with my kids and like Darragh and Richard my best friend, my wife.

Maybe it's a happy coincidence that the people I interact with on Path most are like me, maybe that's the type of people Path will attract. The frequent Tweeters and Facebookers (or whatever they call themselves) seem to have left and, at least for me, the pace on Path is a little gentler than the others. To quote Gareth again a warm pub, as opposed to a noisy nightclub (I'm shuddering at the thought of the latter).

Anyhow, I've babbled enough, anyone up for a virtual pint? I'll pop another log on the fire…

Matt Coyne

Most of what's been said already I wholeheartedly agree with — personal, small, comfortable, delightful to use etc, so there's no need to add to that.

My social media life has gone a bit like this…

I've had Facebook, deleted Facebook, have Facebook again and will probably delete it again. Most of my ‘friends’ don't use it anymore anyway. It's a dull, soulless place (for me).

I started using Twitter mostly to find out stuff from people I don't know, but are well regarded in my industry. That spiralled, as conversations were had and a few ‘tweetups’ and ‘twoncerts’ created closer online bonds with people I didn't really know, but liked. But the info overload from the ‘stuff I followed’ meant that I missed some of those conversations. The two didn't mix (for me).

Google+. Meh.

Instagram is a complete leveller. No egos, just photos. Some good, some great, some funny. And I love taking photos, so it's a good fit (for me). But it sits there on its own, with no pretensions to be anything else.

Then came Path. Twice. First time around (about a year ago), I signed up — as I did with most new services — invited a few peeps along. And then promptly forgot about it.

Path, the second coming, somehow has made all the difference. A delight to use (draw me in), tell me it's for a small network (seed planted), and a bit of luck in getting the right people in your ‘group’ (keep me there).

As a certain Mr Howells has said elsewhere, it is down to the individual to make these networks work for yourself. He's right. I need to cull Twitter and delete Facebook and Google+.

And therein lies the rub. It's all about the right amount and mix of people. Too few and it's a dull, soulless place. Too many and it's just noise. Let me do the fun stuff (thoughts, pics, places, sleeps), and do it easily, no beautifully, and Path has won me over (for now).

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