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Getting started with Path

Path is continuing to grow in popularity. If you're thinking about signing up, let us help you get started.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Path recently announced it has reached 10 million users, and is now growing at 1 million users per week. The total number of users is low, especially when compared with Facebook's numbers, but don't let that fool you.

Path is a useful social platform, especially for those who aren't about sharing with large groups of friends, but instead keep a smaller list of friends to share personal moments with. With the growing popularity, you're likely to see posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and even Foursquare.

What is Path?

Path is a private social network. Instead of allowing you to add as many people as you'd like, you're capped at 150 friends. This limit, in theory, will force you to only add people you care about and want to share intimate moments with.

In other words: if you're looking to have a popularity contest, stick to Twitter or Facebook instead.

Path not only wants you to share status updates, but it also has the ability to share what you're currently listening to, your current location, a photo, and (oddly) when you're going to bed and when you wake up. The latter option is a smart move by Path to ensure that it is the first and last thing its users are looking at every day.

Get Path

You can download Path for the iPhone or an Android device in the respective stores. It's a free download, although you'll notice there are some in-app purchases that can be made. Those purchases come in the form of stickers and photo filters.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Similar to the stickers Facebook recently rolled out, Path has been selling stickers since the launch of Path 3.0. Each user gets a free sticker pack, with the rest of the packs setting you back $1.99 each. There's also the option to purchase additional filter packs for photos uploaded through Path. The filter packs are a bit cheaper than the stickers, coming in at 99 cents each.

Using Path

When you first set up Path, you can allow it to scan your Address Book and Facebook friends for fellow Path users. This makes it easy to add friends to Path, or invite non-Path users to join the service immediately upon signing up. But be careful: if you're not paying attention, you might accidentally spam your list of contacts, along with all of your Facebook friends.

When the list of contacts and friends is first pulled up, all of them will have a check mark next to their names. This is the default setting. In order not to send an invite, you'll need to tap on the Deselect All button, and then individually check the name of each person you'd like to invite.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Should you want to share something from Path to another service, such as Facebook or Twitter, you can connect your account and cross-post by selecting the respective icon for the service you'd like to send your Path post to.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Your location

One of the more interesting features of Path is the Neighborhood feature. Enabled by default, it will automatically add your location, down to the name of the neighborhood you're in, to your Path timeline and any updates you post to the service. When you're traveling and open the app to check your timeline, you'll notice your location is automatically added for you.

You can disable the Neighborhood feature in the Settings section of the app.

Importing content

Since you're likely a new Path user, you might want to import content from another social network. Path has made this process very simple. Go to the Settings page of the app, and tap on the Import button next to the service you'd like to import your content from. You're able to import from Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare.

Keep it personal

As previously stated, the reason Path puts a limit on the number of friends is to help encourage you to add and share with only your most personal of friends, not random strangers who have added you on every social network in existence. Keep this in mind with Path; your experience could just end up being a more meaningful one than what you find on Facebook or Twitter.