Peeple - a lesson in social media misuse?

Last week, the news about the Peeple app (the creepy app that allegedly lets you rate and review people in the style of Yelp) set off a flurry of anger, protest, the creation of a couple of , and even a petition asking Apple and Google to block the controversial app.

Peeple

From the Peeple app's initial announcement, to the revelation that it is quite possibly a hoax, the entire episode was not among the internet's finest hours.

If the app is real there is no need to comment further, as the collective outcry has (hopefully) doomed Peeple before its creation.

If, however, the entire Peeple campaign is a hoax, we should consider the story a bit more before we dismiss the entire event and move on. As there may be a lesson in this tale.

It seems to me that the Peeple app story is a tale in social media misuse. The most alarming thing about it is how it incorporates one of main things we warn young internet users about - posting images and stories that can be misinterpreted and damaging to one's reputation.

While the two individuals behind the Peeple stunt, Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullogh, may be enjoying a moment of internet popularity, one has to wonder about the long-term effects.

A blurb from the Peeple site states that "Reputation will become the newest form of currency where the best of the best get recognized and soon have access to more abundance and networks."

The folks behind people may have to perform some severe damage control as the promotion of the Peeple app has hardly showered them in glory, and left them far from the "best of the best".

In America, October is not only Cyber Security Awareness month; it is also Bullying Prevention Month.

As such there are numerous sites devoted to raising awareness and combatting negative online posts. Internet hoaxes are the antithesis to both of these efforts.

Of course, if Peeple is indeed a stunt as many suspect, only time will tell if it was a good idea or not. There are numerous examples of people who have become "famous for being famous".

There are an equal amount of people who have irreparably damaged their professional reputations by partaking in stunts and hoaxes, never to be given another opportunity at redemption.

On the one hand, the internet moves rapidly, and perhaps this entire event will be soon forgotten.

On the other hand, the tenacity of the internet may make this another ghost in the machine with which the Peeple authors will have to forever contend.

Either way, there are valuable lessons for others to learn from this event.

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5 Responses

  1. coyote

    October 4, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    'A blurb from the Peeple site states that "Reputation will become the newest form of currency where the best of the best get recognized and soon have access to more abundance and networks."'

    Well they might find that at the expense of their own reputation. Good luck to them repairing it if that is the case. One hopes that does happen, even (a hoax is one thing – although they have it coming and deserve any negative attention they get – but for something like this to be reality is another story entirely).

    I personally don't have a problem with hoaxes (and similar) as long as they aren't potentially damaging. For instance, April jokes (and the April 1 RFCs) as well as parodies (e.g. The Onion). Unfortunately far too often it is something else and that is a problem (of course, people being blind to parodies and the like is also a problem). But that is their own doing and they will have to live with the consequences – denying it will not change the reality.

    "On the other hand, the tenacity of the internet may make this another ghost in the machine with which the Peeple authors will have to forever contend."

    The Wayback Machine would most likely agree.

    "Either way, there are valuable lessons for others to learn from this event."
    Goes for everything in this world and unfortunately many (most?) do not learn from the past.

  2. Techno

    October 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    This is probably sounds terribly sexist, but it comes a no surprise to me that the founders of this app are two women, and two rather attractive ones at that. The kind that sit giggling together behind their hands, laughing at people ther perceive as less attractive and less fortunate then themselves. I think the technical term is b*tching. It's a b*tching app, and not in the cool sense of the word.

    • coyote in reply to Techno.

      October 5, 2015 at 3:14 am #

      It's not sexist if it is genuinely your thoughts. The reality is we all are shaped by many things and we can only see things from our own eyes, and if what you've seen and experienced leads you to not be surprised here, why should that be sexist or anything else other than your expectation? To suggest anything else is ridiculous – the fact you personally aren't surprised about that doesn't mean it would always be true, and it doesn't mean you wouldn't accept the alternative. That's the key; if you refused to believe anything else then I could see your concern. But that isn't it, is it? All it means is if you were to take a guess in the matter, you'd expect women first. As a male I expect men over women for many (negative) things too but it doesn't mean I'm a feminist or anything else; it is simply from what I've experienced in my time in this world.

    • Bellass50 in reply to Techno.

      October 9, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

      Do people forget that FB was set up by a jilted/rejected male to comment on his fellow female students??

  3. coyote

    October 6, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34446882

    Seems it was shut down. Good riddance.

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