Path is a mobile journal app, currently for iPhone and Android, with elements of social media. The advertised slogan describes it as:

“The smart journal
that helps you share life with the ones you love.”

What’s the story?

The service was developed by an all-star crew, formerly associated with projects like Facebook or Napster. As read on Quora, they’re creating a social service for close friends and family, where people can share anything what’s on their mind without hesitation.

What does it do?

Path creates a timeline, very similar to Facebook’s. Users get to share their photos, videos, read articles, thoughts, music, and even let others know when they go to sleep and wake up!

Dave Morin, Co-Founder and CEO says: “First, we are now in the Post-PC, Mobile era. In the PC era we would often ask: are you online or offline? In the Mobile era this is no longer the case. You are simply sleeping or awake.”

How is this new?

The friend list is limited to 150 slots. This is to ensure that people network with only those who they trust or relate to. Being a journal, Path primarily focuses on capturing moments and organizing them in elegant and slick form. The social part comes afterwards.

Posts on the timeline (Path) are visible to followers, but a single entry can be easily exported to Twitter or Facebook, and displayed in a very pretty, yet private fasion.

To compare, Instagram, a great camera app for iPhone and Android, lacks the story-telling behind it. It’s used for albums and photo editing. Along with its built-in filters, it enables export to other social media services, however it’s strictly for photography.

Path is like Instagram, but built into a timeline with a tight social graph of friends and family.

Exciting distribution and marketing model

Path is free to download from the AppStore or Google Play (Android Market). The raw homepage shows a hand holding an iPhone with the app launched. There are two call to action buttons (log-in and get app). Beyond that there are two emotion-driven promo videos and that’s it. Clean and pure.

The entire team participates in discussions on Quora, outlining their strategies, goals and carefully adapting to what their users are looking for. Path grows on recommendation of close friends and family, who evangelise the brand . This builds tremendous loyalty and trust. By inhibiting viral growth and focusing on reliability, Path just might become the next step in social media.