Social networking: Don't call it a comeback- Yo + GPS = Big Things

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People are always spouting about the next big thing to hit the digital world, and then the next big thing to hit the digital world after the previous next big thing. Beware of false prophets, though, as someone once wisely said, not least those with job titles like ‘Social Media Guru’ (remember those guys?)
Digressions aside, when the social networking app Yo launched 12 months or so ago it caused huge ripples in the digital world- one of those ‘next big thing’ things that you’d be right to be a little sceptical of. Put simply, the mobile-made programme was completely useless, aside from the instances when you wanted to send a ‘Yo’ message to a contact who has also signed up with an account. In return, they could send you a ‘Yo’ back. That was about it.
Another very wise person once said, though, that the simplest ideas often prove to be the most fruitful, and this proved accurate. By June 2014, Yo was the number one social app in the US according to Apple’s App Store chart, and the #4 in terms of overall apps. A round of financing saw the concept valued at between $5 and $10million, which isn’t bad for something that doesn’t really do much.
Then things seemed to be going in the wrong direction. By September, Yo had slipped from the Top 100 social apps, and fallen out of the Top 1250 (if there is such a thing) in terms of overall apps. Sensing its days might be numbered, digital critics the world over began predicting an impending death. One of those flash in the pan success stories- the social equivalent to Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting, or some other one hit wonder. Yet a quick examination of where things are today proves this isn’t the case, and Yo may in fact be on the cusp of greatness.
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After apparently spending at least some of the money raised throughout that financing campaign wisely, a new location-based function was added to the offering, which has taken the entire idea to another level. The simple interface which requires either a single or double tap for all commands, and has no room for you to write anything yourself, therefore making this arguably the quickest form of digital comms out there. Which is a nice idea, turned incredibly useful because now you can ‘Yo’ contacts or services, and in return receive information ‘tacked on’ to their ‘Yo’ reply, containing location-specific details.
That could be a ‘Yo’ to a friend, which asks them to tell you where they are, and a ‘Yo’ back from them with a Google Maps location. Or, it could be a ‘Yo’ to Uber taxis, and a ‘Yo’ back telling you the ride home is en route.
Confused? No problem, how about this explanation. Let’s use Travelstart as an example.
So, you’re sitting in a Manchester office on Thursday and suddenly decide the rain and slate grey skies aren’t going to cut it this weekend. Subscribe to Travelstart’s Yo account, tap on it, and in return you’ll receive a breakdown of cheap getaways, departing Manchester that weekend.
In our instance, we had deals for trips to Rome, Paris, Milan and Brussells, all departing MAN for the respective destination on 13th February, returning on the 14th. But, most importantly, accessing that information took three clicks.
In another example, we sent a ‘Yo’ to Lonely Planet and the service sent us a ‘Yo’ back, containing a fantastic feature about the gin renaissance currently taking place in the UK (interesting, there’s actually a gin festival happening in Manchester, at Victoria Baths, next month).
One potential criticism could be that the user interface, in comparison to the gloss of, say, Facebook or LinkedIn, is a little basic and therefore takes some getting used to. But then this fits in with the core principle of keeping everything simple- and makes a refreshing change from the increasingly complicated big networks, so with time we’re sure our hands will be moving about the app with lightning speed. And, with brands including Twitter, Chelsea FC, MTV, Capitol Records, Huffington Post and Teen Vogue already represented, it seems a few other folk also agree this could amount to quite a big thing.
In contrast, this didn’t…