Monday, October 19, 2015

Confession of a Girl Who Uses Path

Gosh, I really hate Path.

And here's the reason why:
1. I don't know if it's just me, but it's fucking laggy.
2. When actively used, it's the second most data-consuming app in my phone, with the first being Instagram (since it's full of pictures and videos).
3. Whenever you go, the social pressure to post something is too damn high. Hey, I just had lunch at this famous, newly-opened Japanese restaurant chain, and not at some cheap food stalls. Hey, I just feel like posting this song that I don't listen to at the moment but I'm gonna post it anyway 'cuz it describes how I'm feeling right now. Hey, I just met my old friends and thought you guys may want to know what they (and my #OOTD as a bonus) looked like. Well, the pressure's basically like "it's not actually that special, but I don't want people to assume that I have no life and they should know how mediocrely good my life is, so I have to post this". I hate to admit this but instead of enjoying the moment, wemyself includedwould often found ourselves and our friends fumbling with our phone, trying to get Wi-Fi, editing our freshly-taken picture so we could upload it right away. We won't get over until it is posted. May the most liked post wins!

So.. Just what purpose does Path serve? Is it purely for showing off? Or get in touch with your close friends, privately? Or as I said before, to caters to our increasing narcissistic needs of posting everything everywhere in this digital era?

"Well, yeah, Path allow you to get in touch with a selection of friends in a limited circle, so they'd know what I'm up to, and vice versa. All in a more private way."
Meh. I call BS on this. To let them know what you're up to, you could post on chat groups, LINE status, or even Facebook, since you can customize the privacy setting. It's all easier and quicker to do. Also, in a private way? LOL, don't get me started on this. I've seen many people abused the private function by linking their Path to their public Twitter accounts. I could concur if this was said back when Path limits the friend list to just 150 people, but now it expands to 500. Honestly, I don't think you have that many *close* friends and family. And just how many viral posts in the recent years were actually taken from someone's Path post? And we said Path is "private"? Also, if they intend to go viral, to spread a certain tale, they should consider Facebook or LINE public post which has direct 'like' button and comment (a two-way interaction!), so it could travel further to wider audience too. These viral Path posts eventually and ironically will end up in Facebook and Twitter anyway. No matter how careful you curate your friends on Path, the ones you'll be accepting won't be really the closest ones. What privacy do you seek from a "social media", anyway? You won't know if one of your few friends, who's actually a snitch, would screen-capture your post and post it somewhere else, will you? I don't think 'privacy matters' is what makes Path different and so widely used, unless you're a public figure.

"Ok, we can argue on that. But, but, how about giving people recommendations? You know, like, I had dinner in a place with really cool interior and really tasty food, and I want people to know how it went, or where it is. It's good for business and foodies, right?"
Recommendation seems like a legit reason, until you realize that we have Instagram, review apps, and blog for a reason. I mean, do you really meant to check in at that place because you had a great meal and great time there, or because you thought it'd look good on you? Because apparently, the said place is currently the most happening place among your friends? Well, I can't blame you. I, too, have posted movies I was watching on Path and sometimes with a quick review on them. Sometimes many friends love it (especially if it's a much hyped movie or only has been released for few days,), sometimes not really. Same goes for food. But I eat alone more often than eat out with friends or family. When I eat alone, I rarely post them on Path. Why? Consider this: you eat alone in an ordinary-looking restaurant that always been your favorite but never got a chance to say how awesome it was, and you eat with three friends in an upscale restaurant but with ordinary tasting food, which one do you more likely to post? I think it's the latter. If I really love that restaurant and its food, I'd prefer using Zomato, OpenRice, or my personal blog. Just admit it, our inner pretentious self plays a big role in this whole posting matters, so using Path to recommend things isn't really effective. It will only reach a small portion of people and you can't do a full-blown review which makes your post really long, since Path users seem to have short attention span. But of course, this could go differently for every people. Some people are influential enough that they could just boost a certain product or place's sale and fame just by posting it on their social media. But then again, not everyone are social media celebrity or giving useful reviews, and as the audience, we could get tired seeing the same place or song getting posted over and over again by different friends on our Path feed.

"Ugh, alright, whatever. Just don't go generalize people. But you know what? Seeing your counter-arguments, I realized something; Path gives you all the needs from various social media, all in one app. Instagram's picture and video posting, more elaborate version of Facebook's "what are you doing?" and its privacy setting, longer version of Twitter's jokes and rants (and #nowplaying, if anyone ever remembers), 4square's check-ins; everything's included in Path!"
..Now that's a good point. A valid point, at that. This is actually what makes Path so adored: it sums up other social media functions in one app. It's versatile. Better yet: it boost our ego. The said functions are basically to expose your life into one social media, and I call it total BS if someone said they never get pleased by the amount of likes on their post or at least get a little jumpy every time you a Path notification popped up. It's like seeing many people approved or appreciate your life, and vice versa. I know that the number of likes (or frown or laugh or wink, in this case) can't define your post's quality, but it does define other things: how social you are and how many actual friends you have in real life. Just sit and compare how certain people who posted about watching movie and checked in at a cinema with no captions, just tags, managed to snag many likes, while other people, who is less popular in real life, got smaller amount of likes even though they carefully wrote a compelling comment about the same movie.
Interesting, right? Seeing how much a mere social media involved with our perception and way of life. Path is meticulously designed, despite all its flaws.

It still hasn't solve the biggest mystery, though: why is Path really selling out here in Indonesia, but not in other countries, or even in its founder's country, USA? Is the Indonesian demographic just love to show off and more inclined to pretentiousness? The answer is in this DailySocial article. Perfectly explained in the following paragraphs, quoted directly from the aforementioned article:

"It seems that the key to Path’s wide adoption in Indonesia is how roughly abused Facebook has become. For a lot of people in the United States, Facebook is that persistent connection people have with their friends and relatives. They leave messages there, post their thoughts and discoveries, share news and photos, play games together, communicate, and generally keep in touch with their closest friends and relatives through the network.

In Indonesia Facebook is a marketplace. Yes it’s a social network but it’s a highly abused social network in which people take advantage of their connectedness and use their personal pages to promote and sell products and services. Large numbers of Indonesians use their Facebook pages to upload photos of the things they sell and tag everyone and their dog to announce that they have a new item available for sale. On top of that, there’s the game invitations. Oh the horror when these wretched things come around."  
—Aulia Masna, from DailySocial 32 months ago.

Or to make it short: it's all thanks to the changing nature of Facebook.
The people in USA is consistent with their Facebook usage, to connect with people, so they stick to it and Facebook is still the most popular social media there. Indonesians on the other hand, utilize Facebook for other means such as selling and advertise things. As Facebook became less and less personal, Indonesians found their new comfort at the hand of Path, where they can personally connect to their selection of friends and family while still retain their old habits to post anything anywhere. So convenience.

Now that we know the purpose of Path, what's the point of this post?

Well, I just want to rant how much I actually hate Path while still using them and amused by its dynamics. It's not a love-hate relationship, since I've never loved it in the first place (I still prefer Twitter). It's just funny, how we're really fixated on one imperfect social media app for the sake of 'getting updated' and 'connect with friends and family'. That's all. I hope you don't take this as me badmouthing Path or me getting butthurted for some reasons. But to be honest I do wish a little that Path would somehow lose most of its users so we can move to a better, less pretentious app or even go back to Twitter. As for Twitter, I miss how each people is unique, posting different types of postA is a sappy, hopeless romantic gal who posts love quotes and subtweets her crush 24/7, B is a very funny and punny guy in real life who eventually finds his way to Twitter fame through his original and creative tweets, C is keen to share his thoughts about certain political issues in a series of tweets and open discussions, while D is a loner whose only solace is to rant on Twitter and doesn't care if people read his tweets or not. Meanwhile in Path, all you got is pretty much the same: check-ins, picture of your friends with their friends, funny picturesthat I thought for once was the most redeeming aspect of Path before I realized that they were taken from other social media platformsand small majority of movies, tv shows, songs, or books being consumed and reviewed.

I'm still torn between deactivating my Path so I could free up some spaces in my phone and free from the inevitable social pressure, since most of my real life friends use it and I feel like I will miss out a lot of things if I don't. Anyway, it's up to each person to have preference of which social media platform they like best and use the most, but remember this:

If I ever linked a Path post to Twitter, or even worseturn my Twitter account into a big dumpster full of Path links like most people nowadays, you're obliged to unfollow me and slap me in the face. But if I ask you how your day was and you, who happened to be a friend of mine, respond with something like "Didn't you check my Path this morning?? I was going to" I AM the one who will slap you in the face. Thank you.