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Why Path is about to explode as Facebook takes a hit

As kids bounce from social network to social network, a new pattern is emerging and the Path app will be the new beneficiary of these young crowds, but will it last?

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Path App

Path App

Path – three year old app getting hot

Path was launched in 2010 as a simple and private way to share life with close friends and family only, going back to the origins of why so many people loved social networking prior to it becoming mainstream – it used to feel like a small town with your closest friends, new or old. Path is an iPhone and Android app that, as demonstrated below, documents your lifestream.

[pl_video type=”vimeo” id=”32885259″]

Facebook lost users to Instagram

We opined that Instagram would become the teens’ next Facebook, and we were right – kids flocked to the photo sharing app for two reasons. First, their parents and aunt and paw paw weren’t there yet, and second, scrolling through photos appeals to the shortened attention span more than scrolling through text updates (a la Facebook), and users can take in much more information at a dramatically more rapid pace.

Teens aren’t leaving Instagram, they’re still there, but guess who has showed up there, too? Mom. Dad. Grammy. Uncle Frank. Everyone. Every time kids fall in love with a social network, the adults eventually figure it out, and the party’s over. Not that kids were doing anything wrong, but it turns from their private bedroom with a bunch of friends hanging out to a family barbeque – they have to watch their language and pull their pants up.

But here’s the genius – Facebook acquired Instagram, so even if users stopped using one service in lieu of another, they were covered and could still make big bucks advertising to them.

Here’s where Path comes in

Path is a lifecasting tool that mimics what teens were doing on Facebook before their entire family showed up to spy on them – they were sharing status updates about everything they were doing in life (“just woke up, super tired,” “Katie just slapped Tina in the DRHS parking lot,” “so high right now, I can hear colors,” “gotta sleep, test tomorrow and I didn’t study,” etc.).

As teens tire of hanging out at the family barbeque that is now Facebook, they’re looking for an alternative, and while they’re not leaving Instagram based on family showing up, they are moving to Path, despite Path not being anywhere near new or shiny.

Why Facebook may take a permanent hit

You see, Facebook has now captured all generations up to the point of kids in high school and below, and those kids are looking for alternatives that allow them to be themselves as they would in their bedroom with a bunch of friends over for the afternoon. Facebook is morphing and becoming something else based not only on user culture, but on their features, and it’s a gorgeous site with an endless number of users, but kids are looking for an oasis.

As kids seek parent-free zones, and as parents continue to flock to whatever network their kids are on, the continual shift from one network to another will continue, which also creates a new problem – an entire generation of people completely fine with immediately abandoning a social network or tool for another, which will be another challenge for the future. For those that haven’t picked up on the irony – Facebook launched as a network exclusively for college kids only.

Will Path be the permanent destination for kids? Maybe, but maybe not. It seems that the first social network that is for minors only that allows kids to be grandfathered in and take the social network with them (sign up while in high school, keep your account forever, but mom/dad can’t ever sign up) will be the true winner for this generation that simply wants their independence.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. sheeshoo

    May 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I think this is a very interesting and it will be one to watch. As the mother of a teen, I know that there is another driver for where teens spend their time on social networks, and it’s a technology driver. I’ll give you an example – my son said that for a while they were actually using google plus at school because the school had blocked sites like Facebook and Twitter, but they couldn’t block google. When they were using wifi instead of their mobile networks – this mattered.

    Otherwise, what I know they actually use a lot for self-expression and community connection right now is tumblr. The demographic numbers there right now lean far into the younger crowd.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      You are absolutely right. Tumblr is huge, and Instagram remains super popular, and it’s interesting that they *were* using FB for lifecasting, and in order to preserve their natural behavior, they just pack their bags and leave when it gets too adult-y.

      I love your observation about G+, that is truly fascinating that they’re limited at times, and SO resourceful. You’re right – that will play a substantial role in the long term success of each network. Google has the advantage – good point!

  2. Troy Herman

    May 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    One of the best lines of the article: ” …they have to watch their language and pull their pants up.” HA! Thanks @twitter-12423822:disqus .. for the laugh, smile, and info.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      HA! Thanks for noticing that line, @facebook-1158574418:disqus !

  3. Parker Ragain

    May 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    FB has many privacy problems. Family, employers, the gov, are all looking at FB and I don’t like it. Plus, FB is the worst designed website I have ever seen. It is complex when it doesn’t need to be. The first rule of web design (according to Parker) is don’t over design.

    Great article Lani, don’t ever stop!

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Parker, you’re right, but don’t you think the privacy issues are simply par for the course? If Path were the size of Facebook and Facebook was the tiny app, the tables would likely be turned when it comes to privacy, no?

      The jury is out on Facebook’s design, and some say it’s getting better, but you’re right – mobile has made us all expect minimalism. For God’s sake, a toddler knows what a hamburger (three dots on upper part of an app) is and that they have to click it to make an app do stuff.

      (Also, thank you for the compliments!)

  4. Tinu

    May 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Path got buggy on my iPad for a while, used to check it every day. One of the things I loved about it was that it was a core network away from Facebook. There are very close friends and family I will never connect to on Path, because I really only want to see mostly happy moments of life.

    One network that doesn’t get much press tat I think teens will grow on is GroupMe. I love how I can talk to just my three core groups of friend, or use it as ack channel during an event. And now with the gallery history of images, it’s like a little way back machine. Great for conversation in the moment, not as great for us older folk who want to save certain things indefinitely.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Interesting thoughts on GroupMe – our teen is also using a group texting app (although she had never heard of GroupMe, it did the same thing). All of these things point to the assertion that kids want to be kids and adults want to be adults.

      But, I wonder how the current generation of kids will behave in the future now that these are all ingrained? How will social networks survive in a world where an entire generation gets bored in five minutes and turns the channel? Thoughts?

      • Tinu

        May 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

        I’m hoping it’s cyclical, that they’ll get to the point where enough is too much like the 80s did with big hair. lol

  5. AmyVernon

    May 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    “this generation that simply wants their independence” = every generation. 🙂

    It’s interesting, but Path has had some MAJOR glitches with privacy and spamming its users contact books lately and has no real path (pardon the pun) to monetization. There’s only so long they can keep doing what they’re doing without turning their customers/users into a commodity. Stickers ain’t gonna cut it.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Amy, you are so right that it hurts. On all counts. 🙂

  6. Liz Scherer

    May 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I loved Path when it first launched – loved the intimacy and the ability to interact with a select few people. I am not sure that I believe that teens will be turning there, however. The interface can be wonky and it doesn’t have the instantaneousness found on, say, Twitter. I think MessageMe is the ‘it’ place for that generation – its instant, you can add photos and doodles and it’s easy.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      MessageMe and SnapChat are huge, you’re totally right! The instant gratification is huge – Path is big right now, I believe, because it mimics what kids *were* doing on FB before Mom got there – honest lifecasting. “I just woke up.” “Here’s a pic of me eating/smoking/pranking/whatev,” and “I went to bed.” All inane to adults, but completely relevant to the kid who has their 10 friends they connect with on Path.

      I’m not convinced that the long term player has emerged yet, what do you think? I’m also not convinced that Facebook couldn’t make some simple adjustments and get the kids back in a snap.

      • Liz Scherer

        May 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        I definitely don’t think that the long term play has emerged and it will be interesting to see what it is. But remember – kids have short attention spans – so perhaps it will be more than one thing.

        • Lani Rosales

          May 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

          Exactly! I think that’s why Instagram is still a hit, yet they’re searching for what allows them their independence. But now I wonder what will happen when THEY have kids. lol

  7. agbenn

    May 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    compete.com is about as accurate as al gore

    • agbenn

      May 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      and I mean that on all counts, compete is a joke and they’re aware and refuse to fix it

      • JoeLoomer

        May 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

        I trust you’d know Benn, also explains why I can’t get a site I own that’s indexed over 18,000 times to even appear on compete. Any other sites you know of that are a) similar; or b) more accurate?

        Navy Chief, Navy Pride

        • agbenn

          May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

          unless you’re feeding them your data, they’ll punish you – I will say that alexa on some occasions can show the right ups and downs on the right days, but as for count, it has no idea what it’s talking about unless you feed it your data (ie. your traffic) so it can in turn sell your statistics out the backdoor.

    • Lani Rosales

      May 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Additionally, as we’ve discussed elsewhere, for anyone who doesn’t know, Compete doesn’t take into account mobile visits. Even if it was accurate for web visits (which it’s not), it still misses the majority of Path users.

  8. SaintsMeachum

    June 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

    So Path is just a glorified Group Text Message or Facebook Group

  9. SaintsMeachum

    June 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

    If Path’s catch to get people to come over is that “it’s what people were doing before parents joined Facebook” then idk if that works. I’m a college kid and before my parents got Facebook and whatever, Myspace was the thing. But the big thing is that the reason we posted so much non-sense or “bad stuff” like smoking or drinking was because we were younger. We didn’t know any better. I mean I guess this would work for the younger generations like from middle school to early high school, but I’d assume they’re already posting bad things as it is right now cause they don’t know any better.

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Opinion Editorials

9 ways to be more LGBTQIA+ inclusive at work

(OPINION EDITORIALS) With more and more people joining the LGBTQIA+ community it’d do one well to think about ways to extend inclusiveness at work.

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LGBTQIA+ people may have won marriage equality in 2015, but this momentous victory didn’t mean that discrimination was over. Queer and LGBTQIA+ identified people still have to deal with discrimination and not being in a work environment that supports their identities.

Workplace inclusivity may sound like the hottest new business jargon term on the block, but it actually just a professional way of making sure that everyone feels like a valued team member at the office. Business psychologists have found when people are happy to go to work, they are 12 percent more productive.

Making your business environment a supportive one for the queer community means you’re respecting employees and improving their workplace experience.

Here’s nine ways you can make your workplace more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people.

1) Learn the basics.
If you’re wanting to make your workplace more open to LGBTQIA+ people, it’s best to know what you’re talking about. Firstly, the acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual and the plus encompassing other identities not named; there are many variants on the acronym. Sexual orientations (like lesbian, gay, bisexual) are not the same as gender identities.

Transgender means that that person “seeks to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.” Cisgender means a person identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth. If you need a more comprehensive rundown about sexual orientation, gender identity, and the like, visit the GLAAD reference guide.

2) Stop using the word “gay” as an insult.
Or insinuating people you don’t like are “gay” together. This is the most basic thing that can be done for workplace inclusivity regarding the queer community. Anything that actively says that LGBTQIA+ people are “lesser” than their straight counterparts can hurt the queer people on your team and make them not feel welcome. It’s not cool.

3) Don’t make jokes that involve the LGBTQIA+ community as a punchline.
It’s not cute to make a “funny quip” about pronouns or to call someone a lesbian because of their outfit. This kind of language makes people feel unwanted in the workplace, but many won’t be able to speak up due to the lack of protections about LGBTQIA+ identities in anti-discrimination statutes. So stop it.

4) Support your colleagues.
If you’re in a situation and hear negative or inappropriate talk regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, stick up for your co-workers. Even if they’re not there, by simply expressing that what was said or done was inappropriate, you’re helping make your workplace more inclusive.

5) Avoid the super probing questions.
It’s okay to talk relationships and life with coworkers, but it can cross a line. If you have a transgender colleague, it’s never going to be appropriate to pry about their choices regarding their gender identity, especially since these questions revolve around their body.

If you have a colleague who has a differing sexual orientation than yours, questions about “how sex works” or any invasive relationship question (“are you the bride or the groom”) is going to hurt the welcomeness of your office space. Just don’t do it.

6) Written pronoun clarity is for everyone!
One thing that many LGBTQIA+ people may do is add their pronouns to their business card, email signature, or name badge for clarity. If you’re cisgender, adding your pronouns to these things can offer support and normalize this practice for the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only does it make sure that you are addressed correctly, you’re validating the fact that it’s an important business practice for everyone to follow.

7) Tokens are for board games, not for people.
LGBTQIA+ people are often proud of who they are and for overcoming adversity regarding their identity. However, it’s never ever going to be okay to just reduce them to the token “transgender colleague” or the “bisexual guy.”

Queer people do not exist to earn you a pat on the back for being inclusive, nor do they exist to give the final word on marketing campaigns for “their demographic.” They’re people just like you who have unique perspectives and feelings. Don’t reduce them just to a token.

8) Bathroom usage is about the person using the bathroom, not you.
An individual will make the choice of what bathroom to use, it does not need commentary. If you feel like they “don’t belong” in the bathroom you’re in due to their gender presentation, don’t worry about it and move on. They made the right choice for them.

An easy way to make restroom worries go away is creating gender neutral restrooms. Not only can they shorten lines, they can offer support for transgender, nonbinary, or other LGBTQIA+ people who just need to go as much as you do.

9) Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone will slip up during their journey to make their workplace more inclusive. If you didn’t use the correct pronouns for your non-binary colleague or misgender someone during a presentation, apologize to them, correct yourself, and do better next time. The worst thing to do is if someone corrects you is for you to shut down or get angry. An open ear and an open heart is the best way to make your work environment supportive for all.

The workplace can be a supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ people, or it could be a hurtful one, depending on the specific culture of the institution. But with some easy changes, it can be a space in which queer and LGBTQIA+ people can feel respected and appreciated.

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Opinion Editorials

“Starting a business is easy,” said only one guy ever

(OPNION EDITORIAL) Between following rules, finding funding, and gathering research, no business succeeds without lifting a finger.

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While browsing business articles this week, I came across this one, “Top 10 Business Ideas You Can Start for Free With Barely Lifting a Finger.” These types of articles make me mad. I can’t think of many successful freelancers or entrepreneurs who don’t put in hours of blood, sweat and tears to get a business going.

The author of the article is Murray Newlands, a “VIP Contributor.” Essentially, he’s a freelancer because he also contributes to Forbes, HuffPro and others. He’s the founder of ChattyPeople.com, which is important, because it’s the first business idea he promotes in the article.

But when I pull up his other articles on Entrepreneur.com, I see others like “How to Get Famous and Make Money on YouTube,” “Win Like A Targaryen: 10 Businesses You Can Start for Free,” and “10 Ventures Young Entrepreneurs Can Start for Cheap or Free.”

I seriously cannot believe that Entrepreneur.com keeps paying for the same ideas over and over.

The business ideas that are suggested are pretty varied. One suggestion is to offer online classes. I wonder if Newlands considered how long it takes to put together a worthy curriculum and how much effort goes into marketing said course.

Then, you have to work out the bugs, because users will have problems. How do you keep someone from stealing your work? What happens when you have a dispute?

Newlands suggests that you could start a blog. It’s pretty competitive these days. The most successful bloggers are ones that really work on their blog, every day. The bloggers have a brand, offer relevant content and are ethical in how they get traffic.

Think it’s easy? Better try again.

I could go on. Every idea he puts up there is a decent idea, but if he thinks it will increase your bottom line without a lot of hard work and effort, he’s delusional.

Today’s entrepreneurs need a plan. They need to work that plan, rethink it and keep working. They have to worry about liability, marketing and keeping up with technologies.

Being an entrepreneur is rewarding, but it’s hard work. It is incredibly inappropriate and grossly negligent to encourage someone to risk everything they have and are on the premise of not lifting a finger.

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Opinion Editorials

Why freelancers should know their worth

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Money is always an awkward talking point and can be difficult for freelancers to state their worth.

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Recently, I delved into what I’ve learned since becoming a freelancer. However, I neglected to mention one of the most difficult lessons to learn, which was something that presented itself to me rather quickly.

“What is your fee for services?” was not a question I had prepared myself for. When it came to hourly rates, I was accustomed to being told what I would make and accepting that as my worth.

This is a concept that needs multiple components to be taken into consideration. You need to evaluate the services you’re providing, the timeliness in which you can accomplish said services, and your level of expertise.

Dorie Clark of the Harvard Business Review believes that freelancers should be charging clients more than what they think they’re worth. The price you give to your clients is worth quite a bit, itself.

Underpricing can send a bad message to your potential clients. If they’re in the market for your services, odds are they are comparing prices from a few other places.

Having too low of a number can put up a red flag to clients that you may be under-experienced. What you’re pricing should correlate with quality and value; set a number that shows you do good work and value that work.

Clark suggests developing a network of trustworthy confidants that you can bounce ideas off of, including price points. Having an idea of what other people in your shoes are doing can help you feel more comfortable when it comes to increasing prices.

And, for increasing prices, it is not something that is going to just happen on its own. It’s highly unlikely for a client to say, “you know what, I think I’ll give you a raise!”

It’s important to never take advantage of any client, but it’s especially important to show loyalty to the ones that have always been loyal to you. Test the waters of price increasing by keeping your prices lower for clients that have always been there, but then try raising prices as you take on new clients.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that you are doing this work to support yourself and, theoretically, because you’re good at it. Make sure you’re putting an appropriate price tag on that value.

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