Tentang Path dan Paradoksnya

Artikel eksperimental yang ditulis pertengahan tahun 2014 ini kurang lebih meramalkan hilangnya daya tarik Path sebagai akibat pengkhianatan terhadap tujuan dasar untuk memelihara relasi personal yang berkualitas bagi para Path-manian. Tesisnya, semakin jaringan pengguna Path diperluas dan dibuka ke sebanyak mungkin pengguna, semakin ia menggali dalam-dalam kuburannya sendiri.


It’s been a while (a while that means nearly two years) after I took a hiatus from the social media extended hypes, to work on a close to anti-social media environ. 

Until recently, some colleagues at office giggled at my aloofness towards Path and tried to persuade me to have one. To my surprise, my wife who has been baptised as an avid convert of Path from Facebook, also bragged about on how she could hang out on the P apps with her close friends. I was the one who introduced her to Twitter and LinkedIn. Her better knowledge of Path is something I can neither accept nor tolerate.

I recalled vividly how I spoke before a forum of social media enthusiasts at a PR university in Jakarta in mid-2012 of my reading on the technological paradoxes taking place in the social media worlds and how I expect the game changers to come soon to end the reign of Facebook and Twitter. I was bored with them (I lied to the audience in my nasty ploy to get their attention :))

From my individual observation and trial-runs on several social media and microblog startups at that time, including some now defunct ones, like whrrl, posterous, Yahoo’s Indonesian Foursquare Koprol, I hypothetically came to a conclusion that it was not the most techy and user friendly ones would prevail, but the ones which dare to beg to differ by putting limits/constraints to the users.

I share my experiments with website’s Twitter account I ran to understand that Twitter might win most Indonesians because of its 140-character limit coupled with uneditable feat. I said, you can imagine that even with such limitations which made Twitter the most hated by editors, as your space is limited and you could not edit if you err, many love it. Even some managed to go beyond the limits to do a series of kultwit, twitlecturing about many issues, be it politics, economics even philosophy! . What a mind-boggling paradox!

So, I opined that probably Twitter benefited from the Indonesians’ pastime familiarity with SMS, so that it was a smooth migration from cellphone users to switch to Twitter, but above all, it was the paradox element it brought along which touched the users’ very core humanity as paradoxical beings who always try to find a balance in between the extremes and in constant quest of freedom in the midst of constraints.

To amuse the audience further, I said how I was longing for the coming of a new era where new social network players to come to unseat Facebook and Twitter as their top fave list.

This evening, I stumbled on an article in a blog, unveiling Path’s plan to open up a bit its exclusiveness from its originally 50 friend limit when it was launched in 2010, to 150 then 500 and a barrage of rowdy reactions in opposition to the plan. This simply confirms my conviction about the paradoxical nature of these social media worlds.

As Path dropped a message recently:

As you may know, currently on Path you can have up to 150 friends. As Path has grown in popularity, we’ve begun to frequently receive user feedback asking us to increase the friend limit.
We are currently running a product test to a very small group of users where we increase the friend limit from 150 to 500. As part of this group, any friends you add over 150 can be kept even if the program ends. And we may reach out to you every once in a while to ask for your feedback about the product experience.

Your friend limit has already been increased, so have fun adding more friends and family to your Path. If you’d like to opt out of this test, please send an email to support@path.com.

The Path Team 

In my humble opinion, Path should learn about the social media paradoxes before they run on all cylinders with the plan. It may betray its own goal to nurture a high quality relationship to connect with the people who matter the most in life through the sharing of personal moments.

But, they might have better rationale. Hope they did.

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