Last month a new app called “Yo” hit the market. I haven’t tried it yet so my knowledge is only from reading about it. Apparently the app is popular because of its ease and simplicity. With only two taps on your device a simple “Yo” can be sent to someone which can then be interpreted in a variety of ways such as thinking about someone, to get someone’s attention, to notify someone of something, etc.
In a recent article, “This App Lets You Say ‘Yo’ to Your Contacts. That’s It. (Wait, Is It?)“, the CEO of the company who created it was quoted saying “… We like to call it context-based messaging.” I think he was referring to potential future uses of the application where it could be linked to specific events or services such as a sports game that sends a “Yo” to a subscriber everytime a point is earned or a news publication sending a “Yo” to a subscriber when a new article is published. And if that wasn’t his reference then I’m not sure where the “context” is being derived from.
While it is true these intended uses of the application may be developed, I’m still baffled how a one-word message will prove itself to be contextually useful. I already have enough problems deciphering meaning from other forms of digital communications that lack tone, gestures, facial expression and even proper grammar to guide me in interpreting the message. I can see a lot of confusion arising out of something like “Yo”. For example, if I received a “Yo” from one of my friends that could mean s/he was thinking about me, wanted to get my attention or perhaps wanted to remind me of something. How would I ever be able to understand the meaning when the only contextual clue I have is the name of the sender?
Stay tuned. Only time and continued usage will determine the lifespan of “Yo” as a new enhanced form of communication or a complete disintegration of it. In its short existence, it’s already raised over $1 million from investors, been hacked and given rise to new questions regarding proper “Yotocol.”*
*Term used from Mashable’s infographic Yotocol Flowchart, which can be accessed by clicking here.