A Yelp for People?

840*

Apparently, yes, according to the Washington Post.

It is called Peeple, and this on-line human-rating infrastructure is more or less the equivalent of rating a meal at a restaurant or a hotel stay. Fortune calls it “truly awful,” the always balanced BBC News says the app “causes social uproar,” while the Guardian suggests that of all apps this is the app “you didn’t dare ask for.” There are also worse things ( “creepy,” “toxic,” “gender hate in a prettier package”) being said about this admittedly odd idea.

For the moment, the promotional website (forthepeeple.com) seems to be dead at the stick.

That said I can see the perspective of the originators. The originators essentially claim that your “character” is your “destiny,” and I can imagine all sorts of good things that would come from having a “global rating” of your “character” in an on-line forum that you cannot hide from. I imagine that — just like Rate Your Professor — the information would be incomplete and woefully biased; however, in the absence of other information, people would use it. Would it be full of problems associated with racism, sexism, ageism, and any other sort of -ism (and probably some that are being imagined-up right now)? Of course.

The question, apart from all the uproar — which is just more press, even if it is bad press — is why people think that they have so much authorship over our on-line identities now!? It is somewhat surprising — possibly indicating a truly delusional understanding of social media more generally — that we author our own on-line lives. If somebody thinks that they are not “on” Facebook, then this understanding of the world is hopeful but ultimately naive. Why is “rating” really a next step too far? An important discussion to have with students and friends (esp. your Facebook friends who are co-authoring your online identity).

*imagine: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/01/peeple-review-people-the-user-review-app-you-didnt-dare-ask-for#img-1

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This entry was posted in STS, STS Gossip, Teaching and tagged , , by Nicholas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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