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Second Take: New apps are using old ideas, need more creativity to be successful

Happn (top left), Peach (bottom left) and The Outbound (right) are new social networking apps that have features similar to existing popular apps. (Happn,, The Outbound)

By Sasha Cheechov

Jan. 21, 2016 12:40 a.m.

Three new apps are making waves in the social networking community.

Peach, Happn and The Outbound bear resemblances to Facebook, Tinder and Yelp, respectively. However, only one of them has the potential to replace the original with a new and intriguing concept.

Created by the founder of Vine, Peach is a personal profile on which users can post words, videos, photos, drawings and updates. It combines elements of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Vine with Facebook-like features of having “friends” and a news feed.

Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz about Peach’s potential to become a dominant form of social networking. However, the app might fail because each of its features can be found individually within other apps.

Will people be willing to give up their carefully landscaped Instagram profiles and fanatically followed Vine accounts to relocate to an app where the two can be combined? Doubtful.

Peach seems like it will be a quick phenomenon. Similar to the one-hit-wonder syndrome of some pop bands, app creators might run the risk of their app taking off, only to see it crash and burn months later. Vine was a hit because it was a fresh idea; Peach, on the other hand, is an app created from the recycled bits and pieces of others, without bringing anything new or exciting to the table.

Happn is not likely to explode among its target audience, either. It’s a dating app – yes, another one – similar to Tinder, except the people who have crossed a user’s path during the day are the only ones that show up in their feed. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking about how great this app would be – for a professional stalker.

While the concept of reconnecting two people that might have caught each other’s eye as they passed on the way to dinner or brushed shoulders while leaving lecture hall is thoughtful, it doesn’t seem to work as advertised. Similar to Tinder, it will pick up people you haven’t, in fact, passed by or even seen, but instead were within close proximity to. It also leaves the profiles a user has “liked” on their feed, even if there wasn’t a match, advertising the unrequited loves.

Happn intends to match people based on proximity, but for trying to break free of the online dating stigma like a review says, it carries a lot of the same issues. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but if students pass by someone enough times to recognize their face, they should just talk to them in person.

Unlike Happn, The Outbound is an app that encourages users to explore their surroundings instead of the people that populate them. It opens up the doors to unexplored places in the community by suggesting nearby hikes, runs, swimming holes or slopes. In short, The Outbound is Yelp for the adrenaline junkie and the woodsy photographer.

The app is versatile; it includes features like the abilities to search any city for adventures, save them to your profile for future completion and compile a list of activities you’ve accomplished so that you won’t soon forget all of your past excursions. The Outbound brings a refreshing aspect to social media by utilizing the community to encourage exploration of the city.

Thousands of applications are now available, and reinventing pre-existing ideas will not lead to a successful product anymore. Take notes from the makers of The Outbound – stop making new Tinders and start creating programs that allow users to get the most out of their everyday lives.

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Sasha Cheechov
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