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12 January 2016updated 01 Jul 2021 12:13pm

New social app Peach will be successful if it can achieve the “networking effect“

Peach is simply further proof of how difficult it is to build a wide user base.

By Emad Ahmed

So here comes Peach. No, not the fruit or a juicier version of Apple but (yet another) app that is sort-of-but-not-all-the-rage. It’s pretty much like Twitter and other social media networks in that it lets you share updates about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and where you’re doing it. We’ve been here before, so feel free to start yawning. 

But there are one or two interesting things Peach does that other apps could learn from. For example, typing “gif” allows you to search the amusing Giphy catalogue so you can incorporate the images into your updates. (Naturally, I tested this trying to find reactions of Jim Halpert from The Office.) More functionality is built into this clever keyboard, such as drawing and adding your location.

The Office/NBC

What makes Peach significant is the backing of Dom Hoffman, a co-founder of Vine, the app that has allowed some geniuses to successfully amuse us in six-second videos. The tech website Re/code has noted how the app may have been mentioned here and there on your feeds and timelines during the past week because everyone in the tech bubble is trying Peach. This is a world where everyone is constantly after the next big thing. After all, Snapchat was a passing fad before it became a mainstay among young folks like the other, more established platforms.

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Despite the tech industry’s ambition in the world of apps, it should proceed with caution. Meerkat, a live video-streaming app, was set to take off last year before being derailed by Twitter and its purchase of the similar Periscope.

This is partly because the tech industry lives in a land of hyperbole. You can see this in action from the recent CES tech show in Las Vegas. Some products announced as “groundbreaking innovations” are simply iterative updates or a natural progression, even within absurd product categories. Take Samsung and its unhealthy relationship with the fridge. It’s tacked a screen onto one before at the same event in 2013, but this year added a camera inside, so you could see what your fruit is up to while chillaxing on the middle shelf.

None of this is new. Peach might pick up and become the next tech-verb a la Google, or fall flat the same way Myspace did due to a slowdown in the networking effect. It’s why Facebook is so ubiquitous, even if it does shitty things every now and then.

However, other tech companies like Twitter are struggling to make money, and flirting with new ideas like a much bigger character limit. Tech companies have to adapt or die, like any other business. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook of Apple were nonchalant about the company “cannibalising” its own products if it made Apple as a whole more successful.

What will make Peach or the next mildly interesting thing successful is changing how we use social networks overall. The interesting input methods are certainly a plus for me, but the app is emulating too much of my real life as I have zero friends to share updates with at the moment…

Other companies are constantly updating services too, such as Facebook putting its efforts into its own branded messaging app. On the other hand, its WhatsApp platform is still growing organically despite adding no meaningful updates in months – an age in the tech timeline.

Are you a fellow Pepsi lover who has to visit Coke-buying friends and family members? Tough. Succumbed to peer pressure and bought Fallout 4 even if it was pretty crap? Your mistake. The networking effect will continue to make decisions for us in life, like it always has. It’s just more noticeable in the ridiculously fast world of business and technology.

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