Is Yo all hype or does it have substance?

You may have heard about the new app, Yo, which is causing hot debate in the social media scene, and for good reason.

Many believe this app is a fad and a complete waste of time, while others predict big things will come from it.

Self-proclaimed as the simplest and most efficient communications tool in the world, Yo is a zero-character single-tap communications tool. Basically, all you can do is say “Yo” to your contacts stored on your phone.

The meaning of “Yo” is up to you. Instead of saying, “Want to meet for lunch?” you just say “Yo.” Instead of saying, “Baby, I love you,” just say “Yo.” And if you’re up for a little late-night romp, just say “Yo.”

The app was initially rejected by Apple, who said its purpose lacked substance. The developer fought back and defended Yo’s simplicity. It was finally accepted and has since exploded with more than 500,000 downloads and more than four million Yo notifications sent. Yo has also received $US1.2 million from investors.

There have been issues around privacy. Recently, the app was hacked by three students in the US, who managed to read personal data from the company’s database. Once the issue was fixed, the company got in touch with one of the developers and hired him to improve the Yo experience.

So, is Yo hype? Will it fail and fall down? I’m not sure, to be honest. I can see both points of view.

It does seem like a stupid idea that has just gathered momentum. In fact, the developer didn’t want to work on it because he felt it was stupid, and the owner who came up with the idea didn’t want to publish it under his company’s name. So, from the outset there was a lot of concern around it.

But in terms of simplicity and ease of use, Yo has potential. I can see the app adding more words than just “Yo”. Who knows? They might add “OK”. And with youths already using as little characters as possible to express themselves, this type of app could really appeal to them.

People who are using the app are finding it’s addictive. David Shapiro wrote in The New Yorker: “I’ve spent a few days Yo-ing and being Yo-ed, and the novelty hasn’t worn off. I don’t remember the last time I messaged someone to say that I was thinking about them, or the last time that I received a message of that nature, but I think about people all day. Nice thoughts. From now on, I’ll just Yo them.”

I can also see how retailers and brands can leverage this app. Let’s say you pre-order a coffee and when it’s ready you simply get a “Yo” from the coffee shop; or you order something online and get a “Yo” notification. Simple, easy and effective.

I’m not sure if I’ll embrace the app any time in the near future, but who knows? I might be Yo-ing some time very soon. What do you think? Is this a brilliant idea or just really, really stupid?