Before social networks, I really did not share much about myself online. The Internet was an unregulated wasteland, where anyone could be anyone, and I certainly was not about to tell anyone who I was. Social networks changed all that by giving the sharing of personal information an air of legitimacy. I knew the people I was sharing my information with, and that made it OK.
Social networks allowed for people to feel comfortable putting themselves out there. Now the same networks are trying to use that sense of community to have people come together to help each other.
Nike Fuelband will connect directly to the Path app, it was announced this week. The idea is for people to tell people how they are doing so others will feel inclined to help motivate them.
“The new Nike+ FuelBand is all about you. You wear it on your wrist and it measures your daily activity and converts it into a NikeFuel score, whether your activity is a sport or just your busy life. You set a goal, and your Nike+ FuelBand helps you track it and achieve it. Starting today, the Nike+ FuelBand integrates with Path so the people who care about you can help you meet that NikeFuel score goal,” Path says.
Nike Fuelband is a bracelet that users wear to track their activity throughout the day. They can set goals, see how much they walked during the day, and track their progress. The bracelet sends the information to its own app, giving users NikeFuel points for their progress.
Now, that information can also be sent directly to a users’ Path account.
Path is a social network built around exclusivity, meaning that it only allows users to have a maximum of 50 friends. The limitation is meant to foster greater connections between people, and to encourage the sharing of more personal information. The idea is that you will only choose the people you are closest to, and will feel more comfortable telling those people more personal things about yourself. It is a more personal kind of social network.
The exclusivity of Path makes sense in the context of the Nike Fuelband partnership. Exercise goals are a personal thing. Nobody likes to admit that they have to lose weight, even if it is fairly obvious, and they might therefore be less willing to broadcast that information. If they feel more comfortable, and are actually close to the people on their social network, they may tell people, who can, in return, provide them with support.
Path will publish a “graph of progress against your goal and the Path moments that contributed to your progress” at the end of every day.
San Francisco-based Path was founded by Napster developer Shawn Fanning and former Facebook executive Dave Morin. After receiving $2.5 million in seed funding, Path then raised $8.65 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Digital Garage Japan and First Round Capital in February 2011. In April of this year it raised $30 million from Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Jerry Murdock , Sir Richard Branson, Mark Pincus, Yuri Milner, Allen & Company and existing investors.
Path is not the first social network to try to promote healthy living. In June, Facebook and General Electric also partnered up to bring the HealthyShare app, and the idea behind it was much the same: get people to post their workouts on a social network, be it Path or Facebook, so others can help motivate them to achieve their goals.
(Image source: sneakerfiles.com)