It sure seems to have worked for Yo, the new social platform that made headlines this week because, well, because here is a social networking site so simple that we should all be suspicious. Is it possible that the whole Yo story is actually some sort of Onion- or Colbert-financed piece of performance art? It seems more likely than the possibility of this thing catching on for the long term. I’m not sure of much when it comes to social apps, but I’m sure that a social network such as Yo -- where all you get to do is transmit the word “yo” to your contacts -- is not here for the long haul.
Hilariously, its creator, Or Arbel, who spent a laborious eight hours building it, told The New York Times that Yo had broad applications. “People think it’s just an app that says ‘Yo.’ But it’s really not,” he told the paper of record. “We like to call it context-based messaging. You understand by the context what is being said.”
And here, I thought it was just an app that says “yo.” Foolish me.
Not to overthink it -- but to overthink it -- ever since I’ve read that quote, I’ve been trying to understand it. Let’s say I’m at my daughter’s soccer game when I just can’t fight the irresistible urge to send a “yo” to a friend who’s not there and has no idea where I am. How does that simple “yo” communicate any context? I could be in the cold remedies aisle at CVS for all she knows.
Actually, and just a teensy-weensy bit seriously here, I think we’re witnessing what might be called a flash social net. Like the flash mobs of yore, flash social nets will probably continue to spring up. They will arise out of nowhere and then disappear again as quickly as they caught on. If all it takes is eight hours to create one, and all it does is something silly like, say “yo,” that means it’s easy to create, and equally easy to forget about once users tire of it. You can just see people -- in a younger demo that me -- thinking "yo" is funny the first 50 times, but that 51st time? Fuhgeddabout it.
As for the advertising implications for Yo, there aren’t any. As you were.