//by Ryan Taylor//
I downloaded the app “Yo” over the weekend, wondering what all the fuss was about. For those of you not in the Yo-know, Yo is a program that allows its users to…well, it doesn’t allow users to do much beside reduce all communications to an electronic caveman grunt in the mode of Jesse Pinkman.
In other words, people can send push notifications to one another displaying the eponymous “Yo”. Another key feature is the creepy voice that utters the word.
To make the obvious Breaking Bad joke: I assume a hidden Easter egg button will transform the app into Yo Bitch!
Released on April Fool’s Day of this year, the app was initially considered a joke by the public. Yo, however, recently attracted $1.5 million in venture capital, sending the message that the app is no laughing matter. If it’s not an elaborate ruse, then what is the draw of Yo? For starters: Yo users can send Yos to any of their friends who have the app.
Okay. What else?
Well…well that’s it.
Did I mention that the app is now valued at over $5 million?
(I’m as puzzled as you are.)
So I decided to take “Yo” for a spin. I downloaded the app (for free), and in seconds I was ready to Yo.
Anyway, when you open the app it first asks you to “sign-up.” After figuring out a tastefully offensive username and a numeric password, “Yo” introduces him(her?)self.
After ‘tapping here’, Yo offers some justifications for its own existence (more on such things later).
Or you could just say good morning, like a normal human being. But where’s the fun in that? Maybe it is true what John Lennon sang:
Yo is real, real is Yo
Yo is feeling, feeling Yo
Yo is wanting, to be Yo’d.
And fear not, lest you thought sexting would remain a chore:
Well, I guess if your bootycallee doesn’t mind waking up to the nightmarish voice of what can only be described as a robot-child, then yeah, Yo is marginally useful.
I’m skeptical, but even a skeptic can appreciate that color scheme. Purple and green? Bitch’n.
Next we’re confronted with this screen:
Again, loving the cool tones. And now we’re ready to Yo.
Crickets. It seems that my friends have yet to discover the infinite possibilities of Yo. Very well. I can accept that.
After that sad realization I fooled around a little bit with the app; I invited some friends, I even found where I can create a profile.
Still skeptical (constipated, too?).
Summarily disappointed, I closed the app and filed it away under “delete later.”
A few hours went by. I took a nap. Made a sandwich. Ate that sandwich. And then, out of the blue, I was accosted by the robot-child voice.
What’s this? Is all that iPhone redtubing catching up to me?
What’s a fuzzywubbler?
Wait a second. This is a Yo. This is a Yo!
And just like that, I had my first (and second) Yo.
How did it feel, you ask?
Well, not great.
But not bad either.
In fact, it was somewhat reassuring. Somebody Yo’d me. Somebody was Yoing me. So I Yo’d back.
And Yo’d back and Yo’d back again.
So what’s the point?
Can’t I just send a text message? Or an e-mail? Can’t I, dare I say it, simply CALL my friend Mr. Wubbler?
Well, yes, I can do all of those things. But I can also Yo.
In all seriousness: the app itself is right about its multitude of uses. We can say good morning, we can say hello, we can even just say Yo to our friends.
But what are we really doing when we’re Yoing?
We are announcing to the world, in one two-letter word, our existence.
Goodbye “Hello world.” Hello Yo.
When we Yo, we make an ontological statement—we confirm our own digital existence, our cyberselfhood.
When we Yo, we make a modern Cartesian proclamation. A cogito for the digital age, a “Yogito” if you will: I Yo Therefore I am.