I’ve blogged about Yo! twice before and every so often I check in on the app’s progress. Initially I was fascinated with how many millions of people downloaded, used, and raved about the app when it was launched. The app offered a way to communicate with others by using the word “yo”. Once sent, the onus was on the recipient to infer the context and meaning of the two-letter message.
It seemed useless and annoying to me. How many Yo’s could one person send and/or receive? Even with the rapid deterioration of communication between humans in verbal and textual forms, I would imagine that “Yo” would get boring, tedious, and confusing. I like to think as a species we’ve already advanced way past mono-syllabic grunting to communicate and there’s no turning back.
According to the articles I read, it seems the creators of Yo also feel the real potential was not in communicating with others, but rather as an alternative way to receive notifications from vendors, stores, services, etc. Yo is supposed to simplify things, but it seems like it’s inserting itself as a middle-man between an app and you.
If I want updates from somebody’s Instagram or a news source, I sign up for the notification service directly with the owner. No need to have a separate app in the middle for filtering. If I don’t want the notifications, I unsubscribe. No big deal. And if I’m not interested enough to have the app, I’m not interested enough in receiving notifications. It’s not complicated in my brain.
One way I imagine Yo making things easier is by potentially cutting down the number of accounts/logins a person needs & on the number of email notifications received. For example, if notifications for multiple subscriptions can be channeled to a single Yo account, it means the recipient only needs one account. But then again, that account will be flooded with everything.
I’m astounded, amazed, and frankly a little irritated that this app received $1.5 million in funding for product development. Aside from sending a “Yo” to somebody with two actions, instead of the half dozen or so required to send it another way, I don’t really see how it does anything that hasn’t already been done before.