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large_5637201084Path has always taken a different … trail. So it’s no surprise that the private social network is laying down new tracks in an attempt to make digital communication more human.

Path 3

Path announced this morning that Path 3 is now available, and the focus is the the type of intimate, free-form communication that happens in person. As the private social network says, “There is so much more than words that pass between us. A smile or nod or encouraging gesture – these allow for true connection and understanding.”

To enable that in a more organic — and non-Facebook way — Path has introduced private messaging. Despite the name, it can be used for both one-on-one and one-to-many communication, but the defining characteristic is that it is very free-form. Ye good olde fashioned text or photo-based status update looks almost a little limited in comparison.

A brand new language?

In the new Path, messages can be text or photos (of course) but also voice, location, a cartoon-style sticker or badge that communications your emotions of the moment, a song, a book, a video, your location, or even a movie clip you’ve found online.

In other words, just about anything but the pat on the back.

And a brand-new monetization

One of the new communication channels Path is adding is stickers, kind of a next-gen emoticon.

“These are pieces of art to be used in messaging. They are expressive and fun, and they communicate what words can’t,” Path says.

You get two free “packs” just for being a Path member, but other packs are available as well, at extra cost. Some of my favorites are designed by Hugh McLeod of GapingVoid fame, but stickers from other artists such as David Lanham and Richard Perez are also available. Path didn’t release any pricing information yet.

The new version of Path is available immediately for iPhone, and “coming soon” for Android.

Path 3 stickers

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