Facebook is an incredibly important part of my life. It allows me to stay connected with people who I care about. When I hear people who are not on Facebook say, “I am too busy for Facebook,” it just makes me laugh. It’s like saying I’m too busy to have a phone. Facebook does not take away from my life, it enhances it — just like a phone. I want to hear about important things that go on in my friends’ world, so I can offer a shout-out or words of encouragement depending on the situation.
Having said all that, I feel like Facebook has gone from being a fun, intimate dinner party to a keg party in a field crashed by acquaintances who brought friends I don’t know that well. I have 821 friends on Facebook. There is a subset of them who I interact with regularly and I love that experience. Others are just a name with whom I have little to no interaction. I am a minimalist and Facebook makes me feel like I am living in a flea market. I know I need to cleanse my friend list and remove people. I also know I need to downsize my home now that three of my kids are in college, but the steps required to do that are a bit overwhelming — I feel the same albatross around my neck when it comes to a Facebook friend cleansing.
Fortunately, I have found a more peaceful Path that has allowed me to start with a clean slate. Path is an app for the iPhone and Android that “helps you share life with the ones you love.” Sound like Facebook? It’s actually not. Regardless of how big your heart is, realistically, you probably don’t “love” 821 people. You probably like them and may even buy one a beer if you bumped into them in a bar, but love is a whole different emotion. Path limits your social network to 150 people, so you need to think hard about who you want to connect with.
Path is remarkable in its simplicity and jaw-droppingly stunning in its design. Think of it as a journal where you share life’s moments in a minimalist yet breathtaking environment. To some degree Facebook’s new timeline approach is trying to be more Path-like, but Path’s interface trumps FB at every point. Path describes version 2 of the app perfectly when it says, “Path is now a journal that writes itself. Less effort from you, more stories in your Path.” The most un-Facebook-like feature is that Path doesn’t allow friends to post on another friend’s path. Let the peacefulness begin….
For me, Path will not replace Facebook — for now it will co-exist with it. Today, I use Path as my aperture for the social universe. If I choose, I can share my moments with Facebook and Twitter through a simple click in Path’s interface. And Path’s photo filters are simply brilliant, so I choose Path as my starting point for every photo I take with my iPhone.
Robert Browning is credited with the phrase “less is more” in his 1855 poem Andrea del Sarto (the faultless painter). Since then architects and others have used this approach to bring a minimalist-generated harmony to the visual aspects of life. Path takes the “less is more” approach to a whole new level via a new medium. I love walking this new Path. Do you have any plans to pave a new Path?