I've written before about how much I like Path, largely because it's so intimate. And I still do like it. But its latest update bums me out.
Path 2.0.5 came out this week. It adds some neat features, like the ability to create tilt-shift photos and videos. But it also adds a feature that I hate: tappable links.
When I called Path the interface of intimacy, I wasn't just talking about the way it constrains your network to 150 people. It isn't just that it has a small network effect, it's that it feel cozy in there. It feels more genuine, and that's largely because it's basically useless for self promotion.
My Twitter and Facebook (and probably Google+) feeds are lousy with links. Everyone is always wanting you to look at their latest thing. So many social media updates are little more than pleas. Look at this! Look at this! Look at this! It's annoying. And of course, I do it too.
But that hasn't been the case on Path. Until today, you couldn't link out. Drop a link in a Path update, and it was useless. Everything took place within the app. There were no distractions. No pleas to go look at something else, somewhere else. Path itself was the ultimate destination.
By adding tappable links, in other words standard hyperlinks, Path is changing from a destination, to a launching point. And of course, because even very small networks can be very powerful, that makes it a lot more attractive for self-promoting. It feels a little like when you're hanging out with someone and it's going really well, and you think you're having a great, genuine conversation, and then all the sudden they hand you a business card and offer you a quote on auto insurance.
I already know where to find insurance. Please, Path, un-fuck-up this update.