It's been a while since the last fameball social network took the Twittersphere by storm — Ello launched and then evaporated from the public consciousness in September 2014. But the stars have aligned once again, and everyone in the group iMessage that is Media Twitter rallied on Friday around Peach, a new sharing whatsit for iOS from a founder of Vine.
Last June, we told you about Byte, Dom Hofmann's wild new creative tool. He had been inspired by Visual Basic and Mario Paint, and wanted to bring those tools to the smartphone. The result was an ambitious — insanely ambitious, even — app called Byte. You could draw or paint or add GIFs to your creations, or even add a soundtrack using an emoji based keyboard tool. It was undeniably fun, but ultimately not very sticky. The app gave creators very few constraints, and it could be hard to figure out to do with it. (Byte is still in the App Store; it was last updated in November.)
Last week, I received a beta invitation to Peach, Hofmann's latest iteration on creative tools. Peach is a slimmed-down version of Byte designed for more simple sharing of photos and text, along with some special posts created by "magic words." Type "here" and you can choose to share your current location. Or type "GIF" and a GIF search bot pops up. You can heart your friends' posts, but there's no central feed of all your friends' activity: to see it, you'll have to tap on them individually and see what they're up to.
Wave at them, boop them, or blow them a kiss
The funniest part of Peach comes in its variations on Facebook's "poke." If you want to get another user's attention, you can wave at them, "boop" them, or blow them a kiss. (Each variation is accompanied with the appropriate emoji.) But you can also hiss, "100," "cake," or "put a ring" on a friend. Or, best of all, you can "quarantine" them, an action that you use once and immediately wish existed in every other social network.
There's nothing particularly original about Peach, but it began taking off in a significant way on Friday. I started receiving friend requests by the dozens when I tweeted my username, something that never happened with Byte. The app is silly and a little bit dumb but also rather fun, and that's often a combination that gets a social network to its first 100,000 users. It remains to be seen whether we'll still be booping and quarantining one another after the weekend. But in the meantime, Peach is Friday's hottest social network.