Sick of the massiveness and lack of intimacy on the larger social networks (ie Facebook, Google+, and Twitter)? Looking for a way to share with who you want and not have your entire life story in the lime-light?

This is where the “newish” social network Path comes in.

The premise

Path is a “smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”. It’s based on the concept of Professor Robin Dunbar’s research regarding the number of trusted relationships that one can maintain which is believed to be 150. That means you can only have 150 friends on Path making it feel way more intimate and “exclusive” than other networks. Something else that adds to this feeling is that Path is only available for iPhone and Android.

Sign up and interface

Signing up for Path is as easy as any other service. Download the iPhone or Android app and then create an account with your email and password.

The Path’s “Home” presents you with a timeline of your friends, a small avatar of yourself that will take you to your own timeline, a “Customize” block behind your avatar where you can choose your own photo, the “Chooser” that you can use to post your photos, videos, location, etc., and buttons to get to your left and right menus (you can also swipe left or right to get to your settings or friend menus).

Adding friends

To add new friends swipe left and tap the “Add Friends” option. Once there, you can add friends by inviting from your contact list, searching Facebook, inviting them via email, or even choose some of the “Suggestions”. Suggestions are friends of friends.

You can also search Path for people via the search box at the top of the “Add Friends” screen.

Settings

To get to Path’s settings, swipe right from “Home” and choose “Settings”.

You can choose whether you want the “Neighborhood” setting on which updates your Path automatically when you change location. You can set all of your identification as well as you bio picture and home “Cover”. Also, you can control your notifications of Path events by tapping and highlighting either the phone or email symbol to control where you see your notifications.

Sharing

Sharing on Path is easy and probably one of the biggest reasons people love it. You share by tapping the “Chooser” button on the bottom left and then choosing one of the pop-out options below.

 

Pictures and videos

In the picture sharing screen you can choose what type of photo “lens” you want to use by tapping “Lens” and then scrolling through the different effects. Also, you can tap the blur button to the bottom left to create a circular or line blur in your picture. With the blur option on, you can drag the center of it around as well as re-size it with pinching and zooming.

There are other standard camera controls like auto or manual flash, flipping the camera from front to rear, touch focus, a select video or photo button at the bottom left, and the video and camera toggle at the bottom right.

People

Choosing the people option gives you a list of your friends and contacts. You can then choose one or more and hit the next button at the top right. At the “Post” screen, you can fill in a note and even your location (location details are below).

You will also notice at the bottom right you have some social network toggles for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare. To sign into these services simply click on the service you want to post to and then connect your account. For sharing on Foursquare you will need to pick a location first.

You will also notice at the bottom of the “Post” screen a small padlock. This allows you to make your post private meaning that only you will have access to it.

Places

Tapping on places will give you a map with all the nearby places (at least the ones that have been shared or are register with Google Maps). You then simply pick a place and you will be forwarded to the Post screen.

A nice touch to the “Places” option is that if you are somewhere that isn’t listed automatically you can use the search box and then click the “Not Found?” option to create it. If you don’t see the options just scroll all the way to the bottom of the list to find it.

Music

One of my favorites. Choose “Music” and then search for whatever you are listening to. You can even tap the small play button on the album cover of the search results to hear the song. After choosing the song you are directed to the Post screen to finish up.

Thought

Type in whatever you are thinking or want to say. After that you can do the usual Post screen behavior and then post by tapping “Save”.

Sleep/Wake

Another nice touch. Tapping the small moon button gives you two choices; “Go to Sleep” and “I’m Awake”. Tap on the sleep button and you are given a nice moon screen that displays how long you slept for. Tapping on the I’m Awake button posts to your Path how long you slept for and a sometimes squirrelly little message.

Commenting

After you start creating some moments on Path and see other moment from your friends, you will want to comment. Commenting is easy. Tap the small smiley face next to the moment you want to comment on. You can then pick a smiley and leave a comment by tapping the Comment box. You’ll notice that if many people saw this moment that you can scroll through their avatars to see them all.

Locals

When someone posts their location you can tap on it. You will then be taken to the “Locals” screen which will tell you the number of people on Path that are in your general vicinity as well as show you the list of your friends that are there too. This is a cool way to see who in your “trusted Path network” is around you.

Conclusion

The beauty of Path is that it is easy and intuitive to use as well as beautiful. Also, because of features like making certain posts private you can use Path for more than just sharing things with your close friends and loved ones; you can keep things that only you want to have access to. Hopefully this short guide can get you started with one of the newest and freshest social networks around.

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