Did you hear about the soon-to-be released app, "Peeple?" Think Yelp for humans. Yes ... applying a rating scale to humans. Yes ... really.
I like this "information at my fingertips" era. I like speaking into my phone and getting directions to wherever I want to go. Is a restaurant or a movie any good? Well, heaven forbid I actually ask someone because there's an app or a website that tells me exactly what I want to know at a speed that satisfies my instant gratification trained little brain.
Buying a car? There's a website that gives the low down dirty on that vehicle that a seller might not reveal. I can load my picture into an app and see how I look with a variety of hairdos so I don't actually have to take a risk with my appearance ... from my couch in under two minutes. Voila. I can quickly see pink hair looks weird on me.
Yes ... technology is cool. It takes the guess work out of things and lessens the risk that we will get stuck with something we don't like.
But an app to rate people?
Yes, it's coming. Meet someone new: business associate, romantic interest or maybe just a halfway cool-looking mom from the playground. Don't bother with "get-to-know-you" conversation. Don't make discreet inquiries to mutual acquaintances. Don't do anything crazy like rely on ... oh, I don't know ... your own judge of character to tell you whether you like someone and want to continue the interaction. Clearly, that's so 2014.
I say slow your roll, Internet.
Peeple is a trending topic this week because who isn't interested about our personalities becoming eligible for a rating. One star? Five stars? Which will it be? If you know me, you can rate me. Cool huh? Friends, frienemies, neighbors, business associates, exes ... if you want to add my name to the database, you have to go through a really super rigorous screening process:
You have to be over 21, have an established Facebook account and have my cell phone number. Uh ... rigorous, you say?
The first two describe ... oh, pretty much everyone I know. And my cell phone number isn't a secret. I've gone to three professional conferences this year where I've tossed around business cards like ticker tape. I've put myself out there so anyone I've shaken hands with can give the Internet their two cents ... using their real name of course. This isn't Ashley Madison.
According to the Washington Post, positive ratings post immediately while negative ratings are held for 48 hours "in case of disputes." I'm sort of thinking that might go like this:
"So-and-so is a coffee-hating cretin that never says good morning."
"No I'm not."
"Yes, you are. HE IS SO!"
The initial press on Peeple suggested users wouldn't be able to remove inaccurate information ... this may not be entirely true. Co-founder Julia Cordray initially stated users wouldn't be able to contest reviews after they went live but later backpedaled, saying "users could report anything they deem inaccurate" to the site. Whatever that means.
Co-founder Nicole McCollough (yep, there are two people who think this is a good idea) says the app can help parents decide who to trust around their kids. I guess good judgment and logic are too much for Nicole, huh?
Me? I don't care much about what other people think or say about me. I'm 49 and in a place in life where I'm secure in my decisions and actions. That's not to say I don't make mistakes or say things I wish I could take back. Do I want those highlighted online? No. Would it hurt my feelings to see my shortcomings publicized in the interest of "helping other people communicate with me?" Probably. I'm not an ice cube.
And who to trust around my kids? That's for me to decide and while heaven knows I hope I make good decisions there, I'm smart enough to know that no app with a fancy-schmancy rating scale will substitute for aware parenting. What if all my instincts say "danger" but the app tells me "Nah, it's cool. So-and-so got a 5-star rating." Tell me humans aren't stupid enough to fall for this shit.
Apps like this are disheartening and scary. Advancing technology sure makes life easy but there's a limit where we say "that's going too far." I say we're there.
This is a cross between Brave New World meets The Hunger Games and a "burn book." Assigning worth to a human using a numerical scale has a futuristic twinge to it ... and not in a good way.
Why not just slap ratings on people at birth? If we're going to rely on data to decide if we want to pursue interaction with another person, why don't we just remove all thought process? Obviously, that's some sarcasm talking and clearly I think Peeple is a crappy idea.
Aside from the sterile approach to relationship building, this just reeks of Mean Girls. Everyone has seen the 2004 movie starring Tina Fey as the quirky math teacher and Lindsey Lohan before she became all skanky, right?
Everyone has seen this, right? If not, close this and open Netflix stat. You're lacking in pop culture education and you need to catch up. We'll talk after.
There was one scene in the movie where the meanest of the mean, Regina George introduced the "burn book" a notebook where high school kids wrote mean shit about each other and passed it around, resulting in a bunch of teen tears and angsty drama. It was bullying. It was mean, hence the movie title.
Mean Girls was released almost 12 years ago (just let that sink in.) Today, we have cyber bullying and cyber stalking. We caution teens to be careful with their online presence because their 11th grade party selfies will warn off potential employers and Ivy League schools. Although Peeple's developer insists humans rating humans is "useful feedback that we can use to our advantage," I call bullshit. I call it saying "Here we are bullies and weirdos. Have your way!"
There's enough mean in this world, enough places online where people bash each other's character. If you see the need to give internet-captured feedback, hello? Linked-In?
If you want to make friends, how about this: take time to be a friend. If you're wondering if someone is "boyfriend material" take a fricken chance. Trust your gut. Watch people's behavior ... observe how they act in different situations. Personally, I think how someone treats service people (the waitresses or the stressed-out cashier at Walmart) is a good indicator of their true self.
We don't need an app to tell us how to interact with each other. We don't need more judging on the internet. Some trendy techie who fancies herself a marketing guru is tells us how great it will be to "showcase our characters." She's full of hooey.
Step away from your computer, put down your phone and interact with your fellow humans the old-fashioned way. I'm the first person to beat the "everything is awesome" drum when it comes to the internet and technology ... but enough is enough.
Slow your roll, internet. We don't need an app to rate Peeple. I guess you could say people don't need Peeple.