The app that only lets you send the word ‘yo’ is an antidote to bland Facebook oversharing

Give them the Turner prize

If you haven’t seen it already, there’s this app called Yo which lets you send the word “yo” to your friends. That’s all it does, it doesn’t even ask you for sign up details, except a username. But it has raised $1 million investment and has 50,000 active users, just sending each other the word “yo”.

Its founders call it a “single-tap zero character communication tool” and boast that sending the word “yo” on WhatsApp takes a draining 11 taps. Creator Or Arbel said:”It’s zero characters – you can’t get any simpler than that.”

Is it a piss-taking comment on how stupid tech has got? Maybe, it was launched on April Fool’s Day. But even if it is just an (expensive) novelty gag, there is something very refreshing about Yo. Using a mobile phone is a stressful and disorienting experience thanks to the barrage of notifications and infinite choice of timewasting activities.


Most of the time, I simply cannot be fucked to use Snapchat, or think of something funny to send someone on WhatsApp. Yo relieves the anxiety of deciding what to say. And unlike a lot of social media, it’s not about vanity – it’s just about saying Hi to a friend rather than showing off, or looking clever.

Though the format is ridiculously constraining, that’s actually the best thing about it – the mystery of the message. Among all the endless sharing of pointless, dull, self-regarding thoughts, Yo restores the romance of not knowing what is going on everywhere all the time. It’s a paradox, but sending the same two-letter word carries much more meaning than any selfie or argumentative tweet. I want to invite those bores with 60,000 tweets, who think we all want their constant commentary on their daily struggles, to use this app. You’re having a bad day? Keep it to “Yo”. If anyone actually cares they will start a proper conversation with you.

I know, it’s boring reading whinges about us being glued to social media and technology. The only thing worse than people oversharing on Facebook is other people complaining about it, like in that that trite video #lookup:

But that’s what’s so great about Yo – they aren’t another bunch of social media bores, they’ve come up with a different way of doing things. Give them the Turner Prize.

If you want to get Yo’d by us, add THETAB on Yo.