With dead-simple functionality and an elegant user interface, Path for Android and iPhone aims to bring social networking back to its roots, where “friends” are actually friends, and posts are actual moments.

Path’s posting options swing open when you tap the + sign on the bottom left.

(Credit: Path)

At a time when Facebook seems to keep adding apps, curating news feeds, and pushing users to connect with as many other users as possible, Path, the blossoming social-sharing app for iOSand Android, is doing just the opposite. It’s trying to keep things small and simple.

While the idea of social networking on a smaller scale may seem strange, it makes a lot more sense once you get to know Path. With no brand pages, groups, event invitations, or Bejeweled requests to clutter its experience, this young social network is all about sharing personal moments with loved ones. That’s it. That’s why it limits the number of connections you can have to 150 (a number that Path believes is the average number of true friends a person has in life).

As with any other social network, getting started on Path means creating an account and populating a profile. Your name, e-mail address, and a photo will do, but you can also add your phone number and birthday. Like Google Plus and Facebook, Path gives you a slot for a cover photo, where you can upload something a little artsier than your standard head shot.

Once you’re all set up, the first thing you should notice is Path’s interface, elegantly designed and head and shoulders above that of Facebook’s mobile app. It’s easy to zip around and share things, and the entire package just looks and feels…better. Tiny details like the emotion icons and the time stamp that appears as you scroll through updates make it a pleasure to keep tabs on friends, rather than an exhausting task, as it sometimes can be with other social-networking programs. Overall, it’s a pleasantly intuitive experience.MORE