Private social network Path and lifestyle brand Nike have teamed up to make the road to a better you a tad more rewarding. The Nike FuelBand, a gadget you wear on your wrist to track your daily activity, now connects to the Path app to keep you accountable and motivated each day.
Path is the San Francisco-based startup that makes an iPhone and Android app for sharing private moments in the form of photos, thoughts, music, locations, and so forth with close friends. The experience, a foil for what’s become of Facebook and other social networks, encourages a type of intimacy that might feel extreme anywhere else.
The FuelBand integration is a perfect example of this. FuelBand users can connect their activity-monitoring devices to Path to automatically share a graph of their progress against their daily activity goal. The shared graph even highlights Path moments that contributed to the person’s progress. The idea is to channel the friend-love on Path to help FuelBand users stay encouraged.
To a non-Path user, this type of sharing may sound like over-sharing. It’s too much information, you say. And I hear you. Trust me when I tell you that I too have no desire whatsoever to be exposed to the daily activity counters and goals of most of the people I know through social media. But on Path, the mini FuelBand progress reports seem natural and, dare I say, exciting to behold.
A Path friend, for instance, made the FuelBand connection yesterday, and when his first progress report appeared in my stream, I couldn’t help but smile and offer my congratulation — in the form of an emoticon, because that is the Path way — for the small feat of reaching his daily goal. It’s a little gesture on his part to share that moment with me, and a tiny gesture on my part to acknowledge the activity, but the end result is that I feel like I know him a little better. And with real friends, the accumulation of these little moments can be quite profound.
Keep in mind that you’re listening to a Path convert. After feeling overexposed on Facebook and Twitter, I was craving a social experience more personal, private, and genuine. I revisited the Path app about two months ago and haven’t looked back. With just 34 friends, I feel like I can be me, uncensored and real.
With more than 3 million users, Path is small potatoes as far as social applications go. The company has raised an exorbitant amount of funding relative to its size, so you’d be right to be skeptical about its future success.
But, anecdotally speaking, I can sense that Path is having a little moment of its own. For starters, I’ve introduced the app to my best friends (they don’t care about or follow tech news the way we do) and its become one of the primary ways we keep up with each other. And, strangely enough, a friend’s high school-aged son told me last night that he had downloaded Path.
Now with more fuel to create intimacy between real friends, Path seems headed in the right direction.
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