Kind of what I've been trying to avoid
3 min read
I will start off by saying I am a Path apologist. I love the app; it is my go-to for sharing moments from my phone. The design is cutting edge, and the concept works well. I began using it around their second major release (found out about it here) before their last privacy kerfuffle. This was serious, but they fixed the issue almost immediately. They ended up paying an FTC fine for accidentally collecting this contact data from minors (which, again, it immediately deleted).
Path went on its merry way, creating new ways to interact for #Facebook to copy (see: Path’s search and Graph Search, launched in beta a month later). But when the only major story about you has been a privacy issue, that seems to be all anyone remembers. This past issue frames new attempts at growth in a bad light, which is why the tech media is accusing Path of spammiing users’ contacts.
The “spam” in question, which, albeit annoying, is far preferable to whatever other monolithic networks are doing without telling you. Furthermore, it is most likely due to user error. I have never heard any of my contacts complaining about spam from Path (contacts - please correct me if this assumption is wrong), and I know from use that there are 2 prompts to go through before Path gets any of my contacts’ info. It invited a couple family members, but only when I specifically told it to do so. Path’s biggest issues here are occasional lag time (which is probably why these “spam” messages were sent after this guy uninstalled the app) and selecting everyone for invite by default. It is a little uncouth, but it is an easy fix - last I checked (after the latest update), the “Invite Friends” list left my contacts unchecked by default.
I realize that some people see this as a second strike on privacy, but the team at #Path has shown that, while they make a few sloppy mistakes every once in a while, they are committed to fixing those mistakes and keeping users’ trust, not alienating them as the tech media seems to think. No matter how douchey the CEO might be, people should soon realize Path makes a product they would enjoy greatly, and is FREE TO USE. They occasionally accidentally use your data to contact people you know, and then fix it when they realize the mistake. In my book, that always beats selling your data to people you will never meet.
2 min read
So, I hadn’t been on Facebook directly for about a month until a couple nights ago (not counting one post from Spotify, where I tried to post to Twitter instead of FB but did the opposite - stupid share buttons). Man, the nostalgia wave was intense. I enjoyed my sojourn into the internet wilderness for a month, but this one relapse visit just made it feel lonely.
My renewed interest was piqued by their announcement of Facebook Home. It is an intriguing concept. The cynic in me knows they just want to put one less layer between you and them (and their ads). The pragmatist in me knows that Android has been dying for some kind of integrated messaging ala iMessage, and this looks like a great solution (until Google announces their own at I/O next month). It is another great way for them to leverage their user base and practically inevitable since their introduction of their own app system. Facebook is the only social network robust enough to attempt something like this. I will try it out of morbid curiosity, and will probably start sharing things there more often. At least until I want control again.
But, that aside, it was very easy to function without Facebook. There was more time to read important things, like literature. My phone locked up less often, honestly. I could find updates in other places if I needed to know how someone was doing.
Coming back was even easier, though. One picture posted, 5 likes by the end of the night. Churning out content is fairly easy, but without a built-in audience, what is the point? I guess when the average user is ready to drop out of there and go somewhere else, I know that I will be ready too.