What The Heck Is Peach?

Greg Miles | 25 January 2016

It was hard to miss the social media frenzy earlier this month. Facebook, LinkedIn, and especially Twitter were ablaze with the chirpings of a new digital phenomenon.

Peach was the word on everyone’s lips, or rather at everyone’s fingertips. Surprisingly this had nothing to do with fruit, the colour, or even the emoji, but a fresh and juicy social networking app.

One reason for Peach’s unprecedented attention was undoubtedly linked to its creator Dom Hoffman. As one the founders of Vine, we naturally expected big things from his latest brainchild. Peach is being promoted as “a fun and simple way to keep up with friends and be yourself.”

Unfortunately for Peach, the jury is still out on whether we really need something else to add to our mountain of social apps. In fact, following the initial hubbub, some reports are already claiming that it is dead.

While this isn’t true (you can still download the app for free on the iTunes App Store), a multitude of problems have certainly contributed to its troubles. Within this post we take a closer look at Peach and assess the good, the bad, and the fuzzy.

What’s Good?

When you first install Peach you’re immediately struck by its crisp interface. Updates from your network unfold from the top of your screen, and friend requests are located so they don’t clutter your feed.

From the main page, it just looks like a stream of statuses, but when you click on an update, a dedicated page for that user reveals a plethora of options.

Peach’s crowning glory is its ‘Magic Words’ feature which allows users to open a range of fun tools and send them to friends. For instance, if you type the word ‘gif’ you can immediately search a variety of gifs from Giphy and add it into your post. Other ‘Magic Words’ include:

  • Battery — Shows your battery charge %
  • Book — Adds a book
  • Date — Shows current date
  • Dice — Roll the dice
  • Draw — Doodle something
  • Events — Shows the number of events in your calendar for today
  • Game — Adds a video game
  • Goodmorning — Say good morning
  • Goodnight — Say good night
  • Here — Offers current location
  • Move — Adds your day’s movement (steps and miles)
  • Movie — Adds a movie image, from themoviedb.org
  • Rate — Rate something on a scale of one to five stars
  • Safari — Opens your browser to search for a link
  • Shout — Say something with big words
  • Song — Uses your phone’s microphone to identify a song (kind of like Shazam)
  • Time — Shows current time
  • TV — Adds a TV show
  • Weather — Shows current weather

The quirkiness of Peach doesn’t end there, though, with users being able to receive inspirational content prompts by simply tapping the lightbulb icon. Plus, alongside standard social features such as liking and commenting on friends’ posts, you can also boop, wave, and send cake to each other (I’m not kidding).

What’s Not So Good?

Despite all of the initial expectation and commotion surrounding Peach, it’s pretty safe to say that the novelty has quickly worn off. Most of its engaging and quirky features are thwarted by a number of problems. Here is what you need to know.

Firstly, there’s the issue of no centralised feed. Instead of the continuous scrolling updates we’re so accustomed to, Peach (as previously mentioned) offers dedicated pages for every user.

Because of this extremely private and insular nature, it means that even if you find the most hilarious gif in the world, users will only see the word ‘gif’ on your stream. They must then click on your page to see what it’s actually about.

Secondly, a private social network was always going to be divisive. Most people who join Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram want to actively share aspects of their life with a mass audience.

Sure, people can like things on Peach, but with only a few friends in your network you can forget about going viral. And as a generation of selfie-lovers and internet-celebrities this just doesn’t cut it.

I also suspect another reason for Peach’s decline is because it received too much attention too early. When we compare it to something like Snapchat, which recently recorded 7 billion+ video views per day, it’s clear that initial publicity levels have no bearing on how successful an app will be in the long-term.

Snapchat was only founded in 2011, but it wasn’t until two years later that it really started to gain traction. This directly contrasts with Peach’s impressive App Store debut at No. 85, only to drop 44 places in less than 48 hours. All of which suggests the hype around Peach’s release was mainly propelled by marketers and media experts, rather than an actual demand from the general public.

What’s The Upshot?

With so many social networking platforms already entrenched in the digital landscape, it’s going to take something pretty ground-breaking to shake things up. On its own, Peach seems like little more than an ephemeral fad, but there is a chance that a larger platform like Facebook or Twitter could recognise its idiosyncratic qualities and try to integrate it.

Only time will tell if the app can survive in the changeable world of social networking, but the chances of it clawing back its initial momentum don’t look very peachy.