With Peeple’s all-positive revolution, we have the technological equivalent of a participation award instead of a venue for constructive criticism. Though positive feedback makes us feel good, the lack of an option to include negativity limits potential growth.
People are a lot like restaurants – some have fancy napkin origami and some have rats. The latter need an incentive to change their ways. Michael Luca, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, found that a one-star increase in Yelp ratings leads to a five to nine percent increase in restaurant revenues. If Peeple users with low ratings saw that other individuals have stronger social and romantic lives, they’d likely make changes in their lifestyles to mirror them. In laymen terms, they would have an incentive to become better people.
Contrary to the present beliefs of Julia Cordray, CEO of the app, the world is not “full of people who love you.” Thick skin is a necessity in present day America, with its 8.5 percent unemployment rate for young college graduates and a national poverty rate of 14.8 percent. Making it is no easy feat. At some point, coworkers and supervisors will likely tell you that your work performance doesn’t meet their standards and it’s up to you to adapt and to improve based on their criticism. With Peeple’s shift, we lose the opportunity to find and fix flaws that may prevent us from being hired.
The negative aspect of Peeple would have also allowed for a preliminary check on someone’s character. With the unfortunate frequency of sexual assaults, knowing somebody’s character could prevent us from associating with them.
The world is not a fairytale
“I think it’s important to know the negative too,” Cordray put it best in a YouTube comment in August before the all-positive revamp. “We want to know, did [they] steal from you, were they abusive, do they have anger issues, do they lie all the time, are they narcissistic? These are the things that are more valuable in knowing versus little egocentric things. We don’t live in a fairytale land.”
The app’s primary concern is cyberbullying, a major issue on social media. The phenomenon is so prevalent today that half of young people have encountered some form of it, and 20 percent experience it on a regular basis. Although cyberbullying is reprehensible, it does teach people how to filter the positive and the negative, which is a useful skill on the Internet.
People are rated and reviewed every day. Whether it’s through tests, work performance reviews or by the ways we dress and act, our actions are constantly judged, measured and compared to others. Taking this aspect of our lives on a public scale might sound frightening, but it may be the best way to acknowledge and confront the negative aspects of life. If public service announcements have taught us anything, it’s that knowing is half the battle.