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.
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”.
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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