By Matt Klein || Yo! Brand Ambassador
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Imaginative new apps are being conceived and born at an exponential rate, but more often than not, these new technologies are complicating our daily lives. According to TechCrunch, there are more than a whopping 1.2 million apps in the Apple App Store and according to Nielsen, our time spent using these apps is increasing by the year. However unfortunately, these applications are not necessarily servicing us in tandem. With online utilities, digital media and social posts each individually fighting for our sacred, shrinking attention, our ability to sift through and devour all this daunting content is becoming downright impossible. With this being the case, one app is beginning to rectify this chaotic, tangled situation – one Yo at a time.
Yes, it’s really called Yo. Download the free mobile app, add a friend and when one of you send a “Yo”, a frank, purple notification appears on the receivers’ locked homescreen. That’s it. Think it’s stupid? Yeah? Well, so did its creator, Or Arbel, less than a year ago. The app was created in a measly eight hours and was originally rejected from Apple’s App Store because it appeared incomplete. Initially, Yo was created for an office worker to simply notify his assistant without calling or texting her, but was quickly adopted as a tool to notify Israelis of incoming missiles. Yo’s sole, simplistic “poke-like” function took center-stage last summer becoming a viral sensation. Since then, Yo has swiftly grown up, having introduced additional functionalities, acquired $1.5 million in investments, appeared at CES & SXSW 2015 and amassed a growing partnered client list including MTV, CBS & FOX Sports, BuzzFeed, VH1, Mashable, Funny or Die, NBA and The Huffington Post. Self-proclaimed as “a single-tap, zero character communication tool”, Yo is serving business and individuals alike and taking advantaged of sanctified digital real-estate that no app has focused upon before – our mobile locked homescreens.
“The idea of having a screen full of icons, representing independent apps, that need to be opened to experience them, is making less and less sense,” Paul Adams, former Facebook and Google employee, shares. Yo is allowing content providers, businesses and organizations push notifications to subscribers with a 100% guaranteed visibility rate and to a salient location. Some reports suggest Facebook posts barely reach 6% of one’s audience while the average Tweet has a shocking 2% impression rate. Comprehending these unimpressive statistics, content-providers like Comedy Central, USA Today, Sony Pictures and Cosmopolitan are currently blasting out Yo’s to their subscribers, confidently knowing that each subscriber is guaranteed to see their bit of content. The act of scavenging news-feeds, maintaining folders of apps, and being inundated with personally uninteresting content, seems to have found a possible resolution.
Many have criticized and gawked at Yo’s hype, $10 million valuation, and over-simplicity, including Stephen Colbert, who not long ago, exploited Yo’s functionality as a butt of a joke on his television show, The Colbert Report. However, others have foreseen the attainable value of Yo such as Fast Company, who recently included the San Fransisco start-up in the “Top 10 Most Innovative Social Media Companies of 2015.” Furthermore, The Wall Street Journal believes Yo is “not a complete joke” and Wired Magazine calls the app, “a glimpse of how our phones are going to start working more and more in the near future.”
Yo is beginning to bridge the gap between users and their dearest content providers and services, streamlining communication and creating a hub for notifications. Or Arbel, Yo’s creator and CEO shares Yo’s goal “is to be the most efficient way to move information.” Focused on removing friction, Yo is continuing to grow in size and functionality. This March at The SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, Arbel revealed Yo’s plan to work with the upcoming Apple Watch in regards to pushing notifications straight to users’ wrists. In a recent interview with Advertising Age and Ryan Morris, Yo’s Head of Business Development, Morris suggests that “[Yo] is here to stay.”
While Yo has already reached #1 in the Apple App Store, accumulated over 3 millions downloads and has allowed more than 140 million “Yo’s” to be sent, Yo is beginning to target and become a valuable service to smaller, local businesses and organizations. Most recently, Yo has reached Lancaster and Franklin & Marshall College, allowing less monstrous businesses and organizations to push notifications and content to interested subscribers, by-passing the disarray of pre-existing, overwhelming and predominately, uninteresting content floating out there. Skinny Park Juice (SKINNYPARKJUICE), The Souvlaki Boys (SOUVLAKIBOYS) and Lancaster Cupcake (LANCASTERCUPCAKE) have joined Yo as a means to share high-quality, intimate content with subscribers, consequentially building relationships and safely knowing that they are not overseen. Social organizations at F&M such as Spoon (SPOONFANDM) and The College Reporter (COLLEGEREPORTER), have also joined Yo in order to share content with subscribers who don’t want to miss out on a critical story or update.
While Yo is not the be-all to end-all mobile application as of yet, and while its future is uncertain, its noble effort to alleviate digital resistance and abrasion is what should be acknowledged and commended. Can two letters possibly revolutionize they way we communicate or share and receive information? As we demand more and more simplicity and organization throughout our daily lives, a tap and a “Yo” doesn’t get more simple than that. Yo? Yo!