If you are lucky enough to own one of the Jawbone UP bracelets that doesn’t have issues, then you’re probably pretty psyched at the potential the simple and streamlined life-tracking device holds. You know what else is psyching me up right now? The prettiness of Path’s re-launch and expansion into a slicker, more agile life timeline, a way to curate the overwhelming amount of content you produce as a digital citizen.
Path has two key features that indicate where social sharing is heading. The first is sleep mode. While some might not “get” why people would want to share their sleep patterns with their friends, Dave Morin (and UP creator Hosain Rahman) do; “It used to be that people would be online or off. Nowadays with mobile, it’s more like asleep or awake,” Morin told me yesterday.
I love my UP wristband in just its own little app silo, but last night when I clicked it before I fell asleep, I wished that my sleep info would sync to Path so hard it hurt. Same goes for waking up.
Both Path and UP devices play into natural human laziness: UP uses its accelerometer to automatically track and graph the number of steps you take a day, Path uses the iPhone’s GPS to automatically update your timeline with “Arrived @ Location” anytime you travel a distance that could be traveled by plane.
Mind you, the sharing of this kind of extremely personal information like sleeping, eating and exercising (and trusting “smart” updating) is only possible when you’re sharing with a limited amount of people. The difference between a being “journal that writes itself” and an invader of user privacy is 50 versus 500 friends.
Path also has the beginner’s advantage of being new to the market; You’re more likely to want to share with a social graph you JUST picked, versus the one you started building on Facebook four years ago.
I have little idea how I’m supposed to set up a “Team” on UP (yeah, I know you can manually search for people but somehow remembering people’s names has gone the way of remembering people’s phone numbers in the age of the instant Friends List). If only there was a mobile-based social network built specifically for private sharing …
Think about Facebook versus Path like email versus texting, email is great if you’re on the web with a wide variety of people whereas texting is suited to mobile devices and few contacts. In the age of the almighty Facebook, micro-networks like Path can and will survive because of smartphone OS evolution and hardware advancements like UP, the Withing scale or Nike+.
The UP bracelet progresses mobile life-tracking . And Path mobile life-sharing. Both have some kinks that need to be worked out (the food tracker on UP absolutely needs to be supplemented by something like this crazy app that comes up with calorie counts of photographed meals using Mechanical Turk).
But it is early early days.