It was the super-hot, private social-networking app that launched almost a week ago. Everyone was downloading it and filling up other social networks talking about it. I had such extreme FOMO that I used a thready GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi connection to download it to my iPhone as I flew over the Rocky Mountains. Then I was on from 33,000 feet in the air and Peaching… er… posting.
It was, well, pretty OK.
Contrary to popular reports, Peach isn’t dead. The app has received regular updates; a recent one smartly moved the friend requests from the top of your post feed. Now you can instantly see what people are posting instead of all those requests.
Initially, I found the Peach to be simple and inviting. The somewhat linear design made it easy to figure out and the Magic Words was ingenious.
For the uninitiated, Peach Magic Words are basically commands you can drop into your post that trigger more complex actions like drawing a picture, inserting a GIF and adding a song. In the case of “Draw,” once you type it in, you get to click a Draw button and then add a simple doodle to your post. The drawing tools are rudimentary (there’s only Undo, no erase, zoom, pen size, color, etc.). Even so, it’s a feat Facebook and Twitter have yet to accomplish.
Peach also distinguished itself by being less of a social network and more of a way to connect just to family and friends.
Like Path before it, Peach shares only with those you’ve connected with directly. Unlike Path, Peach doesn’t limit you to 50 connections.
Back in 2011, I knew people who loved Path. They felt like it gave them control over their online social existence and helped cut out some of the noise they were encountering on more open social networks like Twitter.
As we look at what could be a very short lifespan for Peach, it’s worth considering the more protracted trajectory of Path, a company with tons of excitement and huge heat.
I first learned about Path at a party in 2011 where I simultaneously met Path founder and CEO Dave Morin and investor Ashton Kutcher. I recall Kutcher telling me that sharing to smaller groups was the future. Morin didn’t say much, but that could be because Kutcher never stopped talking (man, was he intense).
Soon after, I signed up for Path, but found that when I wanted to share something with a smaller group (one that usually included family and close friends) I did it on Facebook. It’s only in recent years that I’ve started to share things publicly on Facebook.
Path didn’t inspire me and I wasn’t alone. Even though the app and platform survive to this day, Path is a footnote in social media history.
Peach seems ready to suffer the same fate, but in record time.
A few good days
After signing up I quickly accepted a dozen or so friend requests (just like other social networks, I have requests from people I did not know very well and am choosing to ignore) and created my first few posts. So far, I’ve posted roughly 12 times. During that same period, I’ve Tweeted well over 100 times.
To be fair to Peach, after the initial rush of enthusiasm, I put it aside for a couple of days. The only time I remembered its existence is when the Apple Watch Peach App would alert me to a new Peach friend request.
I thought little about Peach in the last 36 hours until a co-worker commented in one of Mashable‘s Slack channels that she’d just joined and was “quite charmed by it.” As soon as she said it, I felt like a parent who had accidentally left his child behind at the grocery store: guilty and maybe a bit worried. As a parent, I’d go get my kid, but Peach is just a social network that I used to know. It was fun to try, but lacks the stickiness I found in Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and, mostly, Twitter.
As far as I’m concerned, Peach’s problems are obvious.
An insular social network is not, by its very nature viral. I can get likes on Peach, but with just a handful of friends, what’s the point?
Obviously, some tightly spun networks do survive and thrive. Snapchat is not only private, it’s ephemeral. Maybe it was the inherent naughtiness that helped Snapchat make its bones and keep them. Peach has a slightly naughty name and more multimedia capabilities at launch than other social networks have even to this day, but it still feels tame and uninteresting.
My guess is that Peach is failing because it burned so brightly. Snapchat and a half-dozen teen-focused messaging networks and social media platforms operate and thrive in the hidden subculture known as teenagedom. Teens share a certain idiosyncratic taste and perspective. In other words, they laugh at all the same inside jokes. They also use texting and other networks to share details of the new networks all teens should be on.
I get the sense that Peach is not on their list. When you see something trending on Twitter, it’s not the world’s teens and tweens talking about it — it’s media, marketers, “social media mavens” and celebrities. They did not drive social network popularity. If they did, Whosay and Twitter would each have a billion users right now.
Peach has gained a little traction with the general public. I recently did a local news segment titled “Will Peach Catch On?” At least they’re asking the question. On recent Twitter poll Peach didn’t fair as well: 17% said Peach is “Hot,” 34% said “Not” and a whopping 49% chose “What is Peach?”
Peach may still have a chance, especially if Facebook buys it and integrates some of its smart tools into its own social media and messaging platform. Personally, I’m ready to doodle on Facebook.