Shaunacy Ferro on the making of Facebook’s stickers:

Yet Keltner thought that by incorporating some of the principles from Darwin’s seminal work on emotion, he could add a touch of the richness he felt existing emoticons lacked. “I’m naïve about emoticons because I’ve never sent one in my life, but I’ve looked at them—it’s just missing a lot of important things in our emotional lives,” Keltner says.

Sympathy, for example, can be hard to really get across in traditional emoticon form. “It’s an under-appreciated emotion in Western culture,” Keltner explains. “We now know what it looks like and sounds like because of science. They created this dynamic emoticon that when you see it, it’s really powerful.”

When I first heard about virtual stickers being a thing, I, like everyone else, scoffed. Now I’m utterly addicted. And I have no idea why. 

I’m of coursed biased in saying Path’s are the best. But I do find the science behind Facebook’s interesting.



Your best friend, your brother, your godparents. These are the people you want to share life’s moments with. It’s why we’re so excited to announce today’s release – full of features that help you be closer to loved ones, despite busy lives, long distances, and time apart.

Snap away.
With Path…

The new Path update is fantastic. Worthy of a 3.0 label, and yet it’s just 2.5. They’ve managed to make both discovery and content creation significantly better. They continue to keep raising the bar in terms of what a mobile experience should be.

Now I just want an iPad version.



Your alarm goes off at six a.m. It’s a good day for a run, so you tie your laces and step out the door. The first steps work out the morning stiffness but you start to hit your stride, and soon you’ve reached your route’s first hill. Your legs are beginning an early burn. Then through your…

Big update to Path today — their first API partner, Nike. Right now, you can push your running data to Path and soon you’ll be able to pull in data right from the FuelBand. 

Something else awesome: when people see you’re running they can take action to virtually “cheer” you along the way. If you have your headphones in, you’ll hear a cheer.

These types of real-world integrations show a glimpse of the huge potential for the service as a platform. A fully mobile platform.

Path 2.1 also has some great updates to the Music and Photo features. Find it in the App Store here

Update: And visit this site for more slickness on the Nike integration.

Disclosure: CrunchFund is an investor in Path — because it’s awesome and we invest in awesome things.

What’s most interesting to me is that I’ve had the exact same feelings as Dustin Curtis has had at points in my own life. And I have a feeling that many others have as well. Which is why both Twitter and Path work. (And interestingly enough, both had to overcome a ton of early skepticism.)

And yes, I have the same feeling about Highlight. (I haven’t yet tried out Glassmap, but I certainly will now). It was one of those initial gut feelings. Which is exactly why we invested. And why we did in Path as well. And why we would have in Twitter if CrunchFund existed back then.

Content Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink

This morning, I woke up and read Nick Bilton’s weekly New York Times’ column. Nick is a friend and one of the best bloggers/writers/journalists out there. But with today’s column, he was way off base. 

Having already said what I wanted to say about the Path situation, I debated if I should weigh in again. Then I read Nick’s column again. There’s a way to say what he wants to say, but he goes about it the complete wrong way. I felt like I had to respond. 

But before I could, my CrunchFund partner Michael Arrington wrote almost exactly what I would have written — but in a more effective way. As a dog owner/lover, Michael thought up a great analogy: “So the belly is shown.”

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Dustin Curtis more directly states something I hit on earlier with regard to the Path address book situation:

I did a quick survey of 15 developers of popular iOS apps, and 13 of them told me they have a contacts database with millons of records. One company’s database has Mark Zuckerberg’s cell phone number, Larry Ellison’s home phone number and Bill Gates’ cell phone number. This data is not meant to be public, and people have an expectation of privacy with respect to their contacts.

This really isn’t a secret, ask around. There are a lot of apps you use on a daily basis doing the same thing. Some have for a long time. None (that I know of) are doing it to be evil, they’re doing it because it’s a connection/spreading mechanism that iOS allows for. 

And again, from what I hear, Apple is likely to change this soon as well. But I’m with Curtis, I can’t understand why this unrestricted access was in place to begin with. I really can’t think of a good reason.

Path, Not Pathological

As an iOS lover and Path champion, a number of folks have asked for my take on the Path address book situation of yesterday and today. I’ve avoided weighing in for two reasons: first, I wanted to talk to some other actual developers about the situation. Second, the fact that CrunchFund is an investor will render my take moot by some. But there are still a few things not being said that should be.

First, I agree with everyone that there should be a prompt to send your address book data to third-party servers. And with their newest version out today, Path is doing just that

One thing overshadowed by this situation is that there’s a reason Path was doing this — and it was anything but nefarious: it makes the service more useful. Path is about your personal connections and the best way to establish those connections is for Path to find your true friends also on the network. What’s a great signal if someone is a true friend? If their information is in your address book and if you’re in their’s. 

Path wasn’t trying to gain your address book to cold call all of your friends and bug them to join Path. Nor were they going to sell this data to marketers. They weren’t even auto-friending people (which way too many apps do). It was simply to ease the connection building process by giving users good recommendations. 

Here’s the other key thing: a number of your favorite social apps do the exact same thing. And some have for a very long time — for years, actually.

The fact that there hasn’t been an issue in all these years as a result is a good sign. It shows that these apps, like Path, were simply using the access which iOS provides to strengthen social connections within apps.

Yes, it’s weird that Apple, which has the App Store approval process on lock-down and requires prompts for things like accessing location information doesn’t do the same for address book information. My understanding is that Apple has been looking at this issue and it will probably change in a future iOS update. 

For what it’s worth, I’m told that Apple’s iOS developer agreement does contain some wording that may prohibit such actions, but the wording is too vague. And again, Apple screens all these apps and hasn’t rejected one as a result of this address book transfer yet. 

Given Path’s mission to be your most personal and most private network, I think it’s fair to hold their feet to the fire about this issue simply because it wasn’t stated that it was happening. My CrunchFund partner Michael Arrington publicly called on Path to “nuke” this data collected before the prompt, and they have. Good call.

But if we’re going to freak out about this situation, it’s naive to freak out about it over one app. Again, this is happening all across the iOS ecosystem. And no one has said a thing. For years. 

The good news: look for all of this to change. I’ve spoken to a number of developers planning to implement some sort of opt-in-to-address-book-data prompt, just as Path did today. Again, this wasn’t some sneaky attempt to steal your data and sell it off or whatnot, it simply utilizing an option that was put in front of these developers. And they all seem happy to do that in a more transparent way. 

Some smart thoughts on the new Path by Hunter Walk (full disclosure: a good enough friend of mine to be a Path friend).

A great point on the “seen” numbers:

Lots of the P2 design choices are wonderful and detailed. The one I totally disagree with is making “view by #” a default piece of metadata. Seeing high #s on my friends’ posts (because they’ve accepted more friend requests) is subtle pressure for me to friend more people as well to establish my credibility within the ecosystem. Path has focused on creating value in its feature, not via game mechanics and this is the one inconsistent decision. My solution would be to record that data and make it visible only to the post’s author in their own view. That way i can see which of my posts had the most interaction relative to the size of my own graph.

That’s one element of Path that seems to go against its core strength as a tighter network. Walk’s solution is a good one, I think. 

Related: a week ago, Josh Constine also wrote about Path’s unique social dynamic:

The maximum sharing volume likely comes with a friend count of between 3 and 5. As you hit 15, 40, or 100, you’ll censor yourself more, and find less reason to use Path in addition to other services.

That means you have to undertake the socially awkward experience of rejecting requests from your co-workers, acquaintances, and fellow early adopters, and make sure not to put them in the same position. You may have already let some loose acquaintances into your inner circle or have outstanding requests from Path 1, and will need to go in and remove them.

I was coming dangerously close to the 150 limit when I went in yesterday and removed some people. I don’t mean this to be an insult, of course, but rather a reality check. Am I really that close with you? Should we actually be connected here?

I cut about 15 connections. I plan to do more. But it’s hard. It really does go against everything we’ve been taught about social networks the past 5 years. That’s not a bad thing by any means. It’s just different.