Monday, June 23, 2014
Yo is the best social media app ever made, and here's why


Have you tried social media app-du-jour Yo? If not, you should.

The premise is ridiculously simple: add friends and send them a 'yo'. When you do, their phone will buzz and a cartoon voice shouts “yo!” That's it.

The interface is just a brightly coloured list of your friends' usernames. Touch one and you know that in a second or two their phone will let them know you sent them a yo. There's nothing you can do other than add friends and see how many yos you've sent in total. I've sent 335 (and only downloaded the app yesterday). 

Yo has attracted publicity for its $1m round of funding and the fact it apparently got hacked so quickly. The majority of the hype has been focused on deriding it for being completely pointless. But is it?

Remember Facebook's 'poke'? It was a way for you to show a friend you were thinking about them without having to write or respond to something directly. It was quite liberating, but was quickly buried by Facebook's ballooning list of features, and then decommissioned altogether. It's all about the 'likes' nowadays.

Twitter's 'favourite' is close, but still requires you to respond to something. Path's the same, and so is Instagram. There isn't anything else that let's you just send someone a greeting, just a say you're thinking of them, without them having to do something first. A virtual doff of the cap. A friendly poke in the ribs. A cheery “yo!”.

Once you start yo-ing, it's addictive. You'll get a few back, then it'll go quiet. Then someone will yo you, and you'll yo back, and a wave of them will start all over again. My phone's in another room right now, and someone just yo'd me. It's a lovely feeling that's very bonding, and warming as the act itself is so selfless.

In a generation of swaggering status updates and immaculately filtered photos, the yo is a pure expression of what communication technology should be all about these days. It's the anti-selfie.

Far from being a pointless distraction, I think Yo is the purest and most giving way to use social media. Don't believe me? It makes more sense when you try it.

Before you grumpily comment on this article saying how awful, annoying, or pointless Yo sounds, download the free app, add 'jonsilk', and send me one.

A "yo!" back from me might just change your mind.