Last week, the Internet was up in arms (but when is it not) about a new app called Peeple, which lets you rate and review other people. It’s been called “Yelp for Humans”, which is how it’s being marketed around the web, hence the outrage among social media users who haven’t done any further research.
I’m definitely not defending this app, but I wanted to figure out why the founders of it wanted to make it in the first place. These two best friends, one in Canada, one in the U.S., were dedicated to “changing the way people can learn about each other online.” Their solution was Peeple, an app that “allows you to rate and comment about the people you interact with in your daily lives on the following three categories: personal, professional, and dating.”
Ok, seems easy enough. But, why sign up to do it? What is the goal to be accomplished here? According to these ladies, their mission is to “find the good in you”, and “enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people” – hence the personal, professional and dating categories.
They also stress that Peeple is a “positivity app for positive people”, and they’ve shown active support to the anti-bullying movement. But you’re wondering how that’s possible when people can just go to your profile and say anything they damn please, right? Well according to their website, if someone writes a negative review about you, it doesn’t go public on your profile right away, it goes to your inbox and you can then “work it out” with the person who left said review. You can also “report” people like on Twitter and Insta, etc. but negative reviews can still show up on your profile.
Also, you have to be 21 to join Peeple, and have a Facebook account and cell phone number to sign up. You also don’t have the option of taking yourself off Peeple.
So those are the facts. Here’s my opinion: I get what these ladies are trying to do. Create a safe space where others can talk about how good you are in a public forum. It’s like the LinkedIn section where employers and co-workers can back up your resume by writing a nice blurb. But in reality, this isn’t going to work. The environment on the Internet has changed so drastically, even within the past few years, that it’s seemingly impossible to create a “positive app for positive people”. Just because you call something “positive” doesn’t mean it’s going to be that. If I say this party I’m going to is going to be “awesome”, it’s not going to automatically be “awesome” since someone vommed near the doorway and it’s basically impossible to escape. Reviews on people are metaphorical vomit.
Plus, the nature of the app itself is wont for negativity. Even though it’s 21 and over, adults can be assholes too. And it’s not always straight out “this girl’s a bitch”, it can be even meaner than that, since grown-ups are strategic and know how to push your buttons. Also, shade.
Peeple sets up users to basically judge the people they know, and this act of judging has become even more prevalent in our digital culture thanks to the simple technology of ‘the comments section’. But Peeple isn’t the first app to take on this idea of micromanaging criticisms. There’s an innocent one called the Kissing Test, where you lit’rally kiss the screen and it somehow tells you if you’re a pro, novice, or horrible. Similar to that, there’s the Passion app which will tell you how “good” you are in bed. Yup. Just set up the app and place the phone near (or on?) you during sex, and using the mic and other technologies I don’t understand, it will give you a score:
Then there’s the Gym Shamer, which will basically humiliate you publicly to friends on social media if you fail to reach your fitness goals that day.
Do we really need apps for any of this? How about instead of making a “positivity app for positive people”, we start with being positive IRL. And that’s a term all you people on the Internet will understand.