Signs of the Apocalypse: The Peeple App Launches

The "Yelp For People" has no place in Philly.

I’m approaching that age where it’s time to decide if I want to bring children into this world.

Most days, the answer is yes. I love kids, and for whatever reason — blind optimism, naïveté, Ambien — I believe that the human race is a good one and that we’ll eventually wake up from this fever dream we call election season.

But on other days, the Peeple app launches.

With a little time and creativity, I think I could explain Donald Trump to my future daughter in a satisfying enough way. (“You see, honey, Tom Riddle was a troubled little boy…”) But I’m not so sure about subjecting her to a world where a “Yelp for People” exists.

Now available for download, Peeple bills itself as a way to “better choose who you hire, do business with, date, become your neighbors, roommates, landlords/tenants, and watch, teach, and care for your children.” According to a website that’s impossible to un-see, it’s “revolutionizing the way we’re seen in the world, through our relationships” because “character is destiny.” (Good Christ. See you in hell, Peeple copywriters.)

It works like this: After signing up, you can begin receiving reviews — and reviewing other members — in professional, personal and dating categories. Don’t like a review? After backlash against previous iterations, the latest version of Peeple allows users to control their own profiles, filtering out any negative comments. In the future, however, a paid “Truth License” feature may allow premium users to see all reviews, good and bad — if they can say “Truth License” with a straight face.

Do you have to sign up? Of course not. But then again, at one point, you didn’t have to sign up for LinkedIn, either.

Five or so years ago, LinkedIn was optional, a fringe social network for former student council members and bored HR managers. But if you’re searching for a job today, in many industries, you almost have to be on it. You don’t, presumably, have to use insufferable buzzwords or write dripping recommendations for people you wouldn’t hold the elevator for, but we’re doing it anyway because LinkedIn is a vampire. Need a little reminder not to sleep with your coworker? Pay a visit to his LinkedIn profile and you’ll never have to worry about an awkward morning-after with that “passionate, innovative problem-solver with a strategic approach to marketing solutions” again.

Maybe, hopefully, Peeple is one of those things like Snapchator exercise — that we can all go back to ignoring soon enough. But if it’s another LinkedIn, we’re in trouble. Because while it’s one thing to fake your way through office life, it’s another thing to fake your way through real life. And it’s quite another to do so in Philly.

In some cities, Peeple might be perfectly acceptable, a natural extension of the business-as-usual palm-greasing and back-scratching. But that’s not us. Around these parts, we know who we are and we know what we like. We settle our disputes like real people (screaming on the stoop at odd hours of the morning) and we express our gratitude like real people (screaming less loudly on the stoop at slightly less odd hours of the morning). Anyone dumb enough to buy a “Truth License” moved out to Los Angeles years ago.

We’re better than this, Philly. Don’t you agree? Then perhaps you can endorse me for grumpy little rants on LinkedIn. Or for unnecessary Harry Potter asides. Or for refilling the Brita — I always refill the Brita. Looking forward to connecting!

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