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By Gram Bowsher
Yo: A two letter word with ambiguous origins and typically inconsequential meaning. Or is it not that simple? One of the newest trends in social media and mobile apps has been the rise of the app named after such a seemingly innocuous term. Giving users only the ability to send the word “Yo” to each other, the app has already received $1.2 million in investment and has risen to the number one in the iOS app store.
The fast rise of Yo was quickly followed by an influx of hack attempts, and when a group of college students hacked into Yo’s data and were able to attain user information, the fall of Yo began. Other users we able to hack the system, and according to this Forbes article, the once-faithful Yo-ers began deleting the app to avoid the influx of spam messages causing their phones to vibrate incessantly. While Yo’s creator, Or Arbel, states that the hole hackers were utilizing has been closed, users still left the service amidst all the noise.
When is a “yo” not a “yo?”
So, what can be learned from the rise and subsequent fall of Yo? What does the popularity of such simple context tell us about consumers, and what can we learn from the motivation behind their max exodus? I think a quote Arbel gave regarding the apps purpose is pretty telling. “If you think this is just an app that says ‘yo,’ you are getting it wrong,” Arbel told Mashable. “We are here to cut through the noise. We like to call it context-based messaging.”