Online social networking is all about the sharing, even sharing stuff you wished the rest of the world didn’t see. The opportunities for outreach are expanded exponentially through a social network like Twitter or a blogging site . For businesses, to garner thousands of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ can be testament to your product’s popularity in the market. But those thousands can also alter your message faster and farther than your company might like. The proves that millions might watch, but many of those millions are also challenging the message. And how many of us have texted a work colleague meant for our significant other?
A micro-networking culture is brewing that might alleviate some of these stresses through greater control and focus of who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ of your particular network. And developers are not thinking in ‘Circles.’
The first one we’d like to share is ‘‘. It’s got lots of features we are all generally familiar with in Facebook/Instagram (including ability to add a series of effects to your phone-photos), but it’s draw is that ‘only’ 150 people can be included in your network. The metaphor the developers have drawn on is a that you share only with a smaller group of family and friends. Here’s their introductory video:
And their statement on privacy is stunningly simple: “Path should be private by default. Forever. You should always be in control of your information and experience.” Comforting words for any individual or organization shy about putting anything up on a social network.
Path works on an API model that other companies can use. The first one is Nike, who developed a means to keep a running diary of your, well, running. Others are sure to be developed, though one has to wonder how long the ‘Private by default. Forever.’ can withstand corporate plugins. But the interface is lovely (I am partial to red and white, though Path is rather slavish to the branding), and you can even tie your Path into your Facebook and Twitter accounts. But 150 folks is a hugh network by any standards.When you want to reach out and touch someone
If you really want to strive for e-intimacy (if such a thing exists), then get off the Path and try Pair, the social network of two − and both of you need to be on an iPhone to boot. Just you and your partner sharing texts, images, doodles, and even what they call ‘thumbkissing’: press your thumb in the middle of the screen and your partner’s phone vibrates and lets him or her know he or she has been kissed. Aaawwwww…..
There will certainly be some weeding out of social-network platforms, but these microplatforms could have some real staying power by running counter to the sharing assumptions that Facebook et al. impose. A medium-sized nonprofit, for example, could use Path for its staff, making sure that internal news and developments stay that way. Others are being developed and offered, and we will keep an eye on this emerging market. If you have used any of these micro-networking platforms, please let us know what you think!