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Yo, What's Up With That?




Over the last few weeks, various corners of the internet have been abuzz about the new app on the block, Yo. The app, available for iPhone and Android, takes the implied simplicity of texting shortcuts to a whole new level, merely sending the message "Yo" to one's contacts who have also downloaded the app. The "single tap zero character communication tool" has a variety of uses, context be damned, depending on the user's creativity.

While there may be some like Ebony Magazine contributor Donovan Ramsey who hold solidly to the belief that "ain't nobody got time or available megabytes for that," the internet response has been, more than understandably, a mixed bag. The reviews at the Android market are absolutely dripping with sarcasm, yet there is an oddly salient point to one review from user Andy Marter saying "It's not about WHAT the message is. It's about WHO sent it and WHEN. Like white smoke over the Vatican, sometimes you just need a signal and you know what it means." There are even those like internet pioneer Marc Andreessen who believe apps like Yo are indicative of the progressive creative nature of the tech industry. Apparently, the app has raised over a million dollars in venture capital for Or Arbel, the creator of the app after a mere eight hours of work.

In fact, it's the context-less nature of the messaging that is its main feature. A "Yo" could indicate a safe arrival, a declaration of love, a suggestive text in the middle of the night, any variety of "did you see THAT"s, or any other thought that can be conveyed in such a chameleonic interjection.

The app has only been on the market for less than a week, so there's plenty of bugs to work out. It will not Yo those who don't share the app, so it's less effective than a text message and its universality. It does a terrible job allowing for typing in landscape mode on a smartphone (let alone any integration involving the dwindling few with smartphones with physical keys). However, its clean design matches its even cleaner function, and with the funds it has already raised for development, this wacky idea will likely improve rather rapidly in functionality. Considering how rapidly the app is spreading, there will likely be many changes to accommodate the range of phones undoubtedly downloading this technological marvel.

It's silly, but so are Vines. It's ripe for mockery, but so is taking an Instagram of your well-crafted milk foam in your cup of coffee. Such is the nature of the internet—time wasting that's hopefully well designed, and sometimes it makes an insane amount of money for a lucky few.

But yeah, it is pretty stupid. You're probably better off with text shortcuts, and they're doing wonders with emojis nowadays.

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