Associate Planning Director
Butts and Memes Abound on Peach, the Hot App That May Already Be Dead
This past Friday afternoon, Peach, once just slang for a vagina or a butt, was introduced as a new networking platform on the Apple App Store. Thanks to some savvy PR work, and the fact it was created by the cofounder of Vine, Peach was featured on several tech blogs that same day, with journalists trying to figure out what it was, and what it might be — a new WhatsApp or Snapchat, or an also-ran like Jelly or Meerkat.
She promptly posted goatse.
Some social apps grabbed attention by differentiation — Snapchat’s private ephemeral content, or Vine’s 6-second loops. Peach was initially pitched as a messaging platform like WhatsApp, although in practice, it feels like a remix of the most popular networks currently in use.
Like and comment functions, like Facebook perfected? Peach has ‘em.
Usernames with @ prefixes, like Twitter? Peach has ‘em.
Gif support, including automated resizing to the width of the platform, that made Tumblr a content hotspot until other networks followed suit? Peach has it.
Facebook’s “Poke”? Peach has ’em in spades.
Image editing and the ability to make collages, like Instagram? Peach has it, sort of.
The ability to write text over images, like Snapchat? Peach has it.
Short video loops, like Vine? Peach has ‘em.
A menu of not-really-secret commands that pull up equally fun and inane functions, like Slack? Peach has ‘em.
Apple exclusivity, like the early days of Instagram and Snapchat? Oh yeah, Peach has it.
Peach has some curious and unique features, too. One, like the “shout” function, which allows you to create text in a 1:1 frame over a slate of color or an image, feels like Peach’s killer feature. It’s a simple way to create imagery from scratch, or to remix content from your phone’s camera or from images taken from the web. The first application update, rolled out five days after launch, allowed users to make shouts animate by stringing frames together.
A more curious component of Peach, which contributes to its addictiveness, is the counterintuitive feed functionality. The content of each individual user appears on their page in standard chronology, top to bottom, like a reverse Twitter. There’s no central feed for the content of all the users you’re connected with, though, just a constantly reordered friend list that updates based on who has posted content most recently. Then you click into a particular user’s feed to see their most recent content, and scroll through their timelines, then click back to your main friend list, which has likely refreshed with new posts. Unlike Twitter, you can’t include a user in your main feed or easily view the content they post unless the two of you actively connect. Since there’s no reblog, share, or retweet functionality, new account and content discovery is a chore.
This all makes the act of consuming content within the app a very active process, and the constant flipping makes it easy to lose anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour within the app before you realize what’s happened.
By initially connecting with @kapie, my friend suggestions, visible a swipe away from your main page friend feed, were mostly users with a “Weird Twitter” aesthetic. I added users mentioned by people I already followed. I posted a few easy jokes — “bush did 9/11” — and saw users adding me as I appeared in their “Friends of Friends” list. I accepted everyone.
A few more posts and actively commenting on other user’s content, ensuring my name appeared in feeds and suggestions, led to a steady stream of friend requests through the weekend. The more people I connected with, though, the tone of content began to shift.
Dadaistic and sarcastic humor started disappearing, and reposted Reddit memes, complaints about nobody reacting to selfies on Tumblr, and ennui of the succ started creeping in.
In less than 24 hours, Peach was transforming. As user @internet so aptly put it, “peach is just chaos tumblr.”
Then, the sun went down, and the butts came out.
“Peach After Dark” may have first appeared Friday night. Regardless, by Saturday, the phrase was humming across feeds, and by Sunday, the thirst was inescapable. Since the platform was named Peach — slang for “butt” — it seemed inevitable that people would post pics of their backsides.
There were female backsides. There were topless pics. Men stripped down too, some opting for shirtless mirror pics, others brazen enough to go full frontal. Peach had not been live for 72 hours when a young woman’s query of whether or not she should share a pic was neither surprising, nor ignored — comments would promptly be filled with words of encouragement to bare and share the goods.
By Tuesday, maybe due to President’s final State of the Union address, or far more likely due to exhaustion, Peach After Dark was a whimper.
Peach, however, has more to it than a thirst for butts.
Celebrity parody accounts abound. If you interact with Beyonce, she’ll “Put a Ring On It” — one of the user-to-user interaction options; John Stamos ruminates frequently on how wonderful it is to be John Stamos; Zooey Daschenel can’t stand Bon Jovi and will not stop until he’s destroyed; multiple DJ Khaleda use the key emoji with exhausting frequency; both Joan Rivers and Anna Nicole Smith are alive, the latter is dangerously thirsty; the entire Kardashian clan reminds everyone else how poor they are; Zac Efron threw a house party the same night as Peach Prom (both actual things that happened Monday night); Ira Glass just can’t get a hang of new media no matter how hard he tries.
Brands are on Peach, too. Meme regurgitator 9Gag was active and frantically adding people before the end of the first weekend. Dominos was also on within the first 48 hours, but by Sunday revealed themselves to be a fan account and changed their username, citing fear of litigation. Another Dominos account soon appeared. BBC Breaking News sporadically shares updates on breaking news. Merriam-Webster shares word definitions paired with twee imagery.
Parody brand accounts are also on Peach. Ace Hardware, still reeling from their embarrassing and very public series of hammer gaffes, posts frequently, and solely, about hammers. @zune shares helpful tips about the Zune audio player, such as how to make it self destruct. @cokezero reminds people that it is a refreshing beverage when ice cold, but unable to move about because it is a beverage.
Non-parody accounts do exist, however. Designers @mattcrump and @lisa_bizzle post literal interpretations of memes and daily Peach logs. @internet regularly reminds younger Peach users they should be studying for school and going to bed. @cereal demands that Peach users eat their cereal. @ThePeachOfGod assures users that it is abandoning the oft-mocked Twitter account @TheTweetOfGod, so users can unfollow it on Twitter — obviously a troll of the Twitter account. @filth posts absurd illustrations made within the “Draw” feature. Dozens of other users sporadically post content that would fit in with the “Weird Twitter” list created by Notopoulos.
If you do have a thirst for butts, though, there’s an account called @buttgifs. They post gifs of butts.
As the days go on, the “chaos Tumblr” moniker feels increasingly appropriate.
The option of anonymity, combined with the robust text and image options native to Peach, quickly made it resemble Twitter and Tumblr. The former because of short text quips and an overwhelming number of celebrity parody accounts; the latter because of the seamless ability to share gifs or, with the touch of a button, a twee way to broadcast the name of the song, television show, or book you’re currently consuming.
Early trends on the platform, predictably, included users making bemused posts about not knowing what Peach was or how to use it. The “Draw” function was used to make images of dicks. “Shouts”, the ability to make a text and image macro, were used to make peach puns. The gif function, which allowed users search GIPHY using a word or phrase, were used to “Gif your name”. Users wondered who would be the first breakout personality of Peach. iOS exclusivity was celebrated; the inevitable arrival of Android users bemoaned.
Users commonly lamented they couldn’t connect their Tumblr to Peach, and soon were using “Shout” to share their Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram handles. By Saturday, at least one Twitter direct message group was formed and active, where users could more efficiently interact with one another.
As the novelty wore off for early adopters — referred to as “OP” for “Original Peach” — and more users came in from Tumblr and other networks, my feed shifted noticeably. The content from users I’d connected with, as well as what was visible in my Friends of Friends menu, featured fewer deconstructionist jokes and more public introspection, k-pop and 1D fandom, and selfies. Actual fights and drama materialized between users, leading some celebrity parody account holders to unmask themselves in dramatic fashion. Frustration with work, or school, or parents, or loneliness, or clinical depression, or a lack of a boyfriend or girlfriend quickly outpaced the initial deconstructionist and self-aware sarcasm I’d initially enjoyed.
The raw emotion on display felt like high school, with more selfies, and butts, and cliques. The mix of content and emotions and jokes constantly updating my feed, since I never rejected a connection request, was increasingly disparate.
Peach was just Chaos Tumblr.
When the first app update appeared Tuesday afternoon, fixing some stability issues and adding the animation aspect to Shouts, some had already declared Peach dead. Another round of pending updates was announced Wednesday night, including better ways to manage friend lists, increased privacy control, direct messaging, and bio sections for user profiles, suggesting the Peach development team is trying to listen to users and capitalize on strong initial download figures.
In a few months, it’s entirely possible Peach will be nothing more than a punchline with a “moldy” pun in the tech and media community. It could be a favorable alternative to particular sects of Tumblr as long as it remains ad-free, or parts of Twitter as long as it remains fun.
Personally, I suspect I’ll continue to occasionally open Peach to shitpost. I’ll almost certainly use Shouts to generate assets for my other personal networks. Call the police, however, if I ever threaten to participate in Peach After Dark.
Joe Filipas is not quite weird enough for Weird Twitter. He works in advertising in Minneapolis, and is a video producer in his free time. You can connect with him on Twitter at @joefilipas, or on Peach at @peachinfluencer, neither of which include images of his butt.
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