I joined Peach today. I was going through my usual Feedly articles and while on Hootsuite’s blog, the new social platform known simply as Peach came up. Curious, I immediately searched the tag on Twitter and found this app was raging across the web in a frenzy of confused and excited users.
I quickly downloaded it to see what it was all about. I’m not a huge social media user. Ironically, I manage a lot of social media and other digital channels, but I find it more of a hindrance in my own life than a benefit. Particularly with Facebook, but that’s a completely different story. Upon opening Peach and signing in for the first time, I felt a wave of exhilaration. Could I actually become an early adopter of something new in tech? I was quickly left disappointed.
In the early days of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had this brilliant philosophy that users must absolutely be able to find their first 7 friends in 10 days, otherwise they considered that user to be churned. Those were the early days of social networking and the measurements made sense. Today, if I don’t find people I know in a matter of minutes, I’m over it.
I had zero friends. I was literally the first of my entire friend group to use the app and it sucked! Stuck and bored, I promptly texted my closest buddies and got them to sign up. Caking each other, hissing, throwing hilarious memes around, it was great! We all loved Peach! But it quickly died and the fun was over. My news feed was empty and the app felt really shallow.
But I was determined to figure it out. I needed more friends. As silly as it may be, my solution was simple, I added God as a friend. Yeah. literally, I typed in the username “God” and there was a profile with thousands of other friends. Now I had a network! Using the friends of friends side of the app I quickly spammed 50 or so people with friend requests. My phone would not shut up! Everybody was adding me back! At the time, all I had posted was a meme of Jim Halpert. Then I realized what I was getting myself into.
See, I was hoping to use the app kind of as an Instagram and Twitter hybrid. I use Instagram for all of the lifestyle or personal elements of life. It’s my personal brand. Twitter is my tool for learning of the world and being my gateway to the rest of the digital landscape. Peach was this awesome blend of quick and simple updates with the beauty of a personal timeline full of entertaining content. At least, that’s what it was for me.
I started browsing the profiles of these people I had all become friends with, liking and commenting on each others photos, memes, or posts, it was kind of like speed dating; a rapid succession of random information about yourself to see if anybody would spark interest. There were a few people like me. Recent grads in their 20’s struggling through adulthood trying to figure life out. But everybody else was this mosh pit of angsty teenagers complaining about their psychology tests or how their boyfriend won’t text them back.
Peach was full of these characters! Post after post of horoscopes, emo selfies, people starving for validation from complete strangers. It was really awkward. I continued on, receiving and accepting dozens of random friend requests. I didn’t care. Heck, I’m just going to continue posting about my travel desires and my latest fashion and music trends. If they enjoy it, that’s fine. Just more readership.
Ultimately, I was quickly burned out. Peach was an emotional rush and it was exhausting. I really think there are two major reasons for this.
Teenagers are eating this up.
Let’s be honest, we all know that today’s high school students despise Facebook because “Facebook is for moms.” They’re desperate for their own channels to gain access and understand the world around them on a deeper level. We were all teenagers trying to figure that out at one point. Peach provides an incredible space for that. Especially since it’s so new and parents have no clue it even exists. With that said, this also provides a potentially monumental platform for the app to get huge. I’m talking almost Facebook huge. Teens are the movers and influencers in a lot of tech and if they love it, the money and big business will chase right after them.
The design and news feed is very different than other mainstream social apps.
Whereas Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook all have clearly defined timelines, slowly moving streams of your friends’ content littered with ads here and there, Peach is a completely different animal. The feed is a rapid succession of blurbs and thumbnails from every single person you follow. The most recent content always appears right at the top. It’s so fast that I often will read a quick sentence that’s intriguing and it’s instantly gone because it refreshed and moved 40 lines down my feed. It was incredibly frustrating. It also makes for a really ugly and undesirable front-page experience. It would be great for just a small group of friends to keep up. But come 100, 300, 10,000 followers, it is virtually impossible to accomplish anything other than posting your own stuff.
I really do see quite a bit of potential for this social platform. It fills a great gap in the social media world. It’s always current with fun posts and yet to be destroyed by advertising. That is only a matter of time, though. Peach is also really, really fun! It’s great to be on the crest of something new and with so much potential. Peach brings complete strangers together in a way that Twitter could never do, all the while of having the excitement and ridiculousness of Snapchat. I am friends with hundreds of complete strangers and we just banter about life back and forth. It’s incredibly informal and I love that.
The biggest downfall for me was that my actual friends aren’t on it yet. I hope that changes soon. The app is still very much still in diapers. There are tons of requested features that are lacking and the UX needs some fine-tuning. But that is the beauty of something new. There is so much room for this app to grow and shape itself over time. I’m really excited to see where it goes. Peach is refreshing and friendly. It makes Facebook feel like Yammer, Instagram, like Flickr. They are all different, but in the end, what we currently know and love is aging and young blood is moving in. Whether or not Peach is that big change, something will come eventually and it will hit us like a brick wall.