Sweaters for dogs, air-conditioned shoes, one-ton hamburgers: there are plenty of silly things in this world, and Yo is another.
Yo is a mobile app that has found the perfect balance of aloofness with a little condescension. Visiting Yo’s official website I learned that “It’s that simple.” This is apparently a sufficient explanation of what Yo is. However, I still had questions like, “What is Yo?”.
Could it be? Was Yo so simple that it transcended simplicity?
By clicking through one of the app store links provided at the bottom of the page, I found a description stating that Yo is “The simplest & most efficient communication tool in the world.” I liked the sound of that. I downloaded the app, giddy with anticipation at how simply and efficiently I would soon be communicating.
I soon realized that Yo is a very lonely app if none of your friends have it. I convinced a friend to download the app and let the Yo-ing commence! I sent my first Yo. I think. I couldn’t really tell if tapping my friend’s Yo handle did anything or not so I tapped it a couple more times… I ended up receiving 4 or 5 Yo’s from my friend which made me think they were having the same experience.
I ended up texting them to see if they had received my Yo. They said they had received a few and asked why I was making them do this.
Basically Yo is so simple that it ends up being a bit ambiguous. It’s not actually an efficient means of communication. It’s more like a pager. Your friend sends you a Yo and you’re supposed to call or text them. However, it would actually be more efficient for them to call or text you in the first place.
It’s hard to see Yo really catching on between groups of friends, but Yo for business could conceivably be useful, although the same function is carried out by those little little plastic pagers you get at restaurants that flash and wiggle whenever your table is ready, and you don’t even have to download an app for that.
Yo has spawned a bunch of parodies, and Yo’s makers are aggressively pursuing all those parodies. They’re also hoping to follow up their own success with Yo for Business, unless that’s also a parody.
If a business could contact their fans or friends with a single click it would be huge. If all the users had agreed that “Yo” in that context meant, “We’re having a sale” or “Your appointment is in 30 minutes” or “New stock that you might like has arrived,” it might even be useful. That’s the idea behind Yo, but there doesn’t seem to be enough draw to actually get people using the app.
The future doesn’t look bright for Yo when it comes to personal use. Yo for business, however, could have a chance. All that it would take is getting the app in the hands of users.