It’s 2011 and the metrics in social media never cease to amaze me – as connectivity and engagement continue to rapidly increase, the village mentality once again seems to be returning to the fold as more micro-communities are created through various social media platforms.
A recent example of this is Path, a photo sharing social networking service that enables users to share their lives with a a group of small people (limited to 50). For three months I shared pictures with fifteen people up to ten times a day. Their responses were emotions (not comments) and the interaction did not evolve beyond that simple intention. It was organic and personal.
What was the value of Path to me? I certainly wasn’t sharing photographs of the office, coffee and the view of the sunset from my bedroom on Instagram. Maybe it was knowing that I was sharing moments with a close circle of friends that could not be accessed by the masses – it was not public behaviour like Facebook or Twitter.
Soon, the app was updated. Someone posted ,”Path isn’t fun anymore.” What had changed? Two simple things: Path integrated Facebook and filters, morphing into what felt like a variant of Instagram. With that simple update the value of the close relationships that had been formed was suddenly consigned to oblivion. It is evident that as humans we are seeking out relationships in new ways through our engagement with online platforms, but we do not always want these to be displayed in a public manner.
Earlier this week in her blog post, Jan Stewart explored the relationships formed through online social interaction and our increasing need for profound engagement and how real life is the next social platform. Please take the time to read it and reflect for a moment.