December 15, 2011
I got Path a week ago and I’m in full fanboi mode. The interaction design is killer and the fact that so few people know about it is a lot of fun. Everyone who’s on there is an early adopter, making the whole experience more exclusive and our little secret.
I find myself doing a lot of photo sharing and checking in with Path. I used to check in to a lot of locations with Foursquare, but I don’t see myself doing that any longer.
Through the Foursquare API, Path lets me check-in through both services. I get the best of both worlds: Foursquare credit/badges and a notch in my Path timeline. The badges and gamification of Foursquare are starting to get a bit old. They worked great on me for a while, but I haven’t been excited about getting a new badge or topping someone in the leaderboard for several months.
Path’s recognition seems a lot more worth my effort. I enjoy checking in to keep a record of the places I’ve been and having those laid out in a timeline makes more sense to me. Instead of badges, points, etc., Path check-ins are a mostly personal experience in keeping track of where I’ve been and when I was there. Much more useful to me.
Using This Technique for Other Apps
It’s funny because Foursquare pulled this trick many months ago by letting you update your Facebook/Twitter status with a check-in through their service. You could do it all in one place. Now the tables have turned and based on how the NY startup scene is suddenly heavily active on Path, I’m sure Foursquare has noticed.
This is an important tactic to consider when doing social apps. Not only should you allow people to find and import their friends from other networks, but allowing them to warm up to your experience by letting them still participate in their other networks is a great bridge to win them to your new and shiny service. Path is doing this and I’m sure the team at Foursquare is working hard to figure out how their users re-engaged with their app again instead of their API.