Path: the social system that will piss social mavens off

Dave's 2010 TED Notes

I didn’t read any of Path’s hype before trying it myself. I wasn’t part of the beta. I don’t owe Dave Morin lunch (he’s the founder of this new thing called Path that’s getting a deep amount of hype tonight. The photo is of him at the TED conference). But I was excited, mostly because Kevin Rose hyped it up a few months ago on Twitter.

First, the hype.
Network Effect.
New York Times.
Los Angeles Times.

Whew, guess some PR firm was busy! (That amount of reporting doesn’t happen on a startup by accident).

My friend Jesse Stay invited me in. I instantly signed up as “Scobleizer” and started adding friends. Within a few minutes I discovered I can only add 50 friends. Oh, wait, my real friends and family aren’t yet on. So, now I gotta delete some of the folks I already added. Sorry Matt Mullenweg. You didn’t make the cut. I needed to keep Ashton Kutcher. After all, Matt doesn’t impress my niece, but Ashton sure does! 😉

I find software with limitations interesting. Twitter was interesting because it was a blog tool, but one that forced you to keep to 140 characters. I remember having lots of fun trying to see how much information I could pack into a Tweet.

Now I have to pick 50 people. Screw Dunbar’s number that says that a human can have between 100 and 230 friends. No, Dave Morin decided we can have no more than 50.

Anyway, this is an interesting “walkie talkie” of the modern age. I can use it with my son, for instance, and let him see a photo of something I’m doing and he can send one back. I see if he’s seen the photo. We can see where the photo was taken. But there isn’t any text we can write back and forth yet.

Which gets me to the point. This thing will piss social mavens off.

Hell, it will piss off lots of people. Look at this tweet from @Starman: “Something about Path bugs me: if these friends are so close, why not just use facebook with a closed list?”

See, it’s hard to figure out who is on the system. Instagram is MUCH better done in this regard (you add your Facebook friends on Instagram. On Path you have to add people’s email addresses. Email? Really? OK. The problem is my closest friends and family, like my brother Alex, don’t have an iPhone. So can’t use Path with them).

Pisses me off again.

My wife? It’s hard enough to get her to try any new iPhone app, much less one that only lets her share photos with a close group of friends. She says that’s what she uses Facebook for. In fact, Facebook Groups do pretty much what Path does, except without the cool iPhone app. Hmm.

Anyway, this is an app that has me saying “hmmm.” If it weren’t backed by a bunch of famous Silicon Valley VCs and Dave Morin, former head of Facebook’s platform, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to it. What Meebo announced tonight is far more significant and interesting, actually.

Yes, this whole post will get me kicked out of the Silicon Valley hipster mobile app testing club, but so be it.

Path will piss off a lot of people. Ashton Kutcher likes it, though, he wrote that in the Techcrunch post about Path.

Me? This will get forgotten pretty quickly due to Facebook’s announcements in the morning.

Oh, and if you don’t like Path, please “Tip @techmeme.” Thanks. It’s one way to fight the hype.

Or, better yet, just get Instagram and use Facebook’s groups with your close friends and family. I bet they are already on Facebook, right?

UPDATE: there’s another MAJOR problem with @path: if you drop someone off of your Path list, they can tell. Zach Ware proves this. Now think of the social problems that will happen if you are on my list for a while, and then get dropped off. Say a family member gets dropped for someone else. “What do you MEAN I’m not your best friend anymore?” That’s really nasty for a system that depends so closely on only being used by friends and family.


First look: Meebo channels Foursquare with web-wide checkin

You might have heard about Meebo. 180 million people use their instant messaging service. So, when they do something it should be taken seriously. Tonight is one of those times.

They took the “check in” feature of Foursquare and applied it to the web.

So, using their new service you’ll be able to check into my blog. What will that do? It will tell your friends on Meebo about my blog. Just like checking into a restaurant tells your friends on Foursquare about the restaurant you’re going to.

Why is that important? Because, as CEO Seth Sternberg explains in the video I did with him on Friday, you can find other people interested in the same things you are.

Here’s an example. Only people interested in tech will check in here. So, using the new Meebo functionality you can see who else has checked in on my blog. Then you can look where else those people have checked in. You’ll probably find lots of other sites that are also interesting to tech people. I, for instance, will check in on things like Hacker News and Techmeme, among other tech bloggers.

But, I also will check in on my favorite BBQ restaurants. So, if you’re looking for good BBQ, you can use Meebo to see other BBQ sites.

Hopefully soon, if this takes off, we’ll be able to find lots of commonalities.

It’ll be interesting to compare this to Facebook’s likes, too, although Seth talks about them in the video and says that Facebook’s likes are great for brand, but not for specific web pages, especially if the publishers haven’t added Facebook like buttons to their sites yet.

Anyway, what do you think? It should be available Tuesday on the Meebo site here.

UPDATE: Techcrunch has more on the Meebo Minibar. So does GigaOm. So does VentureBeat.