Just when you thought trying to express yourself on Twitter was sometimes a challenge, along comes an app that might be forcing a trend that perhaps doesn’t really exist. On the other hand, it might have some elements of truth in what the future has in store for social media, though only if the populace capitulates to it. In this case, it’s the new and free “Yo” app that seems to be more of a joke in the media than being taken seriously. This isn’t necessarily keeping it from being successful while bringing a new form of online communication that breeds the worst communiqué laziness in human history.
With the ability to send all your friends a “Yo” shout-out, the intention is to communicate with your friends without having to literally lift a finger. Perhaps intended for those so busy that they can’t even take a minute to write something to someone, you have to imagine “Yo” becoming a pop culture joke within a few years. No doubt they’ll be usurped by something else, though you get the feeling the influence of “Yo” is going to be felt later. Will we eventually get to the point where communicating online and on social media becomes whittled down to something much more condensed to supposedly save us time?
Will Communication Become Lazy, or Just in Practice?
Those who spend time on Twitter seven days a week know that there’s plenty of people there who take the time to expound on things and not just write one word. Ironically, one of the most popular pop artists in the world happens to make the one-word (or one emoji) tweet become the most re-tweeted communication in the world. If you follow Justin Bieber on Twitter, you know he’s known for often tweeting just one word or just an emoticon that all his millions of followers retweet in a second. For many who write brilliantly and profusely every day on Twitter, it’s frustrating to see a one-word tweet get 100,000+ retweets when it doesn’t have a shred of substance.
Fans of Bieber may argue it means everything to them, which poses a huge philosophical debate that could be emerging with the younger generation. If all those Bieber followers end up doing the same thing, they could end up evolving a later generation who create a new form of social media where everyone communicates in one word or just through emojis.
Earlier this year, I wrote a piece about how emojis might end up becoming the new form of online language in order to combat NSA snooping or to prevent valuable ideas from being stolen. With emoji having no precedent as a language, inventing our own language with the emoticons might be a new way to communicate without having to use a single word in English vocabulary.
Already, emojis are available to some on Twitter and being used to decorate tweets. In some cases, you’re seeing people tweet nothing but emojis, even if Twitter’s emojis are far more limited and aren’t able to convey very much. As you might expect, the poop emoji is seemingly the most popular there, as is the laughing face. And with recent additions to the full emoji canon soon arriving, that era of emoji communication may be upon us within a few years.
Will there ultimately be a divide in America on those who prefer communicating more at length and those who just communicate with one word or an emoticon? Most of us already thought 140 characters on Twitter was too short after coming from chat rooms and message boards where writing full paragraphs were common. Now Twitter may seem like reading a Tolstoy novel in comparison to what social media may look like in a decade. Just as long as we don’t emerge using guttural sounds within 20 years on social media, communication might be saved, in theory.
Some of us may forever be stuck, though, on whether one-word communication can convey just as much as being verbose can. With “Yo” alone having multiple connotations, social media may eventually force us to say much more with less.