Many people are mocking the sale of Path, a social network founded on the principles of privacy, intimacy, and intentionality. That's fine. I understand folks were burned by Path's pitch of being an escape from the ad driven business models of Facebook and Twitter. The problem is that Path didn't come up with an alternative business model that actually makes money. App.net was a similar failed experiment.
I'll continue to use Path, though. The reason is simple. The ten active users who I am friends with on Path happen to be family members. Our parents and siblings are all on it. We post daily. We post pictures of kids, thoughtful comments, current movie viewing, and even the occasional location check-in. We like Path.
Twitter is contextless communication that is increasingly losing interest to me and will never appeal to my mom. Facebook is a reminder of the wide bredth of political opinions held by my acquaintances. What I like about Path is its focused audience. The sad truth, though, is that intentionally small networks don't make the dollars. My family and I cannot sustain Path's San Francisco based staff for the long haul, especially since none of us are paying members. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we all should pony up.
But, there is a reason why I never give Path dollars. Their inventory is entirely made up of virtual sticker packs. You know, images of Power Rangers and barfing dogs that you can embed into a post. Oh, I almost forgot; they also sell photo filters that can make my pictures look like they have overlays from the Matrix or whatever. I believe in supporting developers by paying for their services, but if that means buying tangential products that provide zero intrinsic value, then no thanks. Sticker packs and photo filters are lame attempts at making money no matter what the other underlying principles being championed by Path, Inc. I will not spend my dollars on sticker packs.
Give me useful features that make Path even more of a knock out solution for families who want to keep in touch without the boat load of carp from the Facebook. I have dollars waiting to go to Path when they add features like profile pages, photo albums, and event sharing.
But that won't happen. And that's fine. Because for the time being, my family and I just want to share our daily happenings without complication. Until Path ceases to make that simple, we'll be around.