If you haven’t heard of Yo, you haven’t been following Twitter very closely. It is the next biggest app that everyone is talking about and a little confusing. The idea behind Yo is that users log onto the app to send other users just one word…Yo. The trend has caught on because 50,000 people are already signed up for the app. So far the users have send more than 4 million Yo’s to each other. Really the app has not yet officially launched, but even without that formality, the app already received $1.2 million in funding from unnamed investors. Clearly, people think that the co-founder and CEO Or Arbel is on to something. The app probably started as a joke, but now is wickedly popular, getting more users everyday and has a lot of money coming in. While apps like Snapchat rely on the concept of ephemerality, Whisper and Secret give users anonymity, Yo seems to lean back on context. Although the app has absolutely no content, the context comes from who sends you the “Yo” and what time they send it. The context is your own life.
For example, if your best friend texts you “Hey” at 10:00 AM they are probably just saying hello or starting a conversation. However, if someone you have been crushing on texts you the exact same message “Hey” at 2:00 it probably has a completely different meaning and context, i.e. booty call. So, Yo is relying on context and provides a structure that allows you to only send one message with limitless subtexts.
Again, Yo may have started as a joke, but it really plays into the idea of digital dualism. Just as Snapchat is trying to imitate life by letting the image disappear, just as it would if you glance at something, Yo is imitating life and the fact that we use context to interpret every interaction we have. If you are interested, download Yo and see who you can contextually communicate with.