A while back I wrote an article on what I termed, “disposable media,” that is, the current trend towards single-use methods of communication that rely on instantaneous, in-the-moment connectivity, and a form of Internet shorthand.
In English: The Internet has now accessed our stream of conscious, or our inner dialogue.
I used Tinder as a prime example. Cute face? Swipe right. Er… not so cute face? Swipe left. Simple as that.
But it’s not the app’s simplicity that works for it, it’s the immediacy. It runs on real time. It actually feels like walking down a street and glancing at people’s faces, deciding – or more or less reacting – whether or not you think they’re attractive. It almost removes the conscious process entirely… almost.
As we’ve become more and more hyperaware of ourselves as a culture, as we’ve broken down the barriers between the subconscious brain and the alert brain, and as we’ve developed technology for the exclusive use of tapping into that very difference, the more we’ve become aware of just how much time we have or don’t have in a day.
With an app to track nearly every single thing you do, you can’t help but start noticing how little you notice. Not sure where to eat? There’s an app for that. Where to go jogging? There’s an app. What’s up? App.
In theory it’s supposed to make our lives easier, quicker, more efficient, and for the most part, it does. We essentially have a mini brain we can carry around that makes unconscious decisions for us – much like our real brains keep our hearts beating and our biological functions working so that we don’t have to stop every half a second and flex our heart – except this pocket brain decides things before we even need to. “Remember to pick up the kids, and here’s the route you should take, grab an umbrella, it’s going to rain, Cheryl called and said to meet for coffee tomorrow but you don’t have cash so be sure to go to the bank (which is at this address by the way instead of your usual address because they’re renovating), also you have 3 notifications on Facebook…”
And now, there’s a new app. It’s called Yo. It let’s you… say “yo.”
You can say yo to people.
I know, right?
But you’d be wrong. This is kind of a big deal. Once again, Yo takes advantage of the trend towards disposable media and leaps ahead of the competition simply by exploiting the simple fact that right now we want our technology to serve us in short, immediate, and disposable moments. It’s essentially a pager, at first. The last I heard, Yo was working on implementing their services into other arenas so that you could receive a notification whenever… whatever you want happens. It’s the new real-time alert standard. New blog post from your favourite writer? YO!
The difference between Yo and every other disposable media app however, is where it gets interesting. In every other situation, at least that I’m aware of, the app serves its purpose until you turn off your phone. (This is exclusive to disposable media, so maps or recipe apps for example do not count.) Or turn off the app, I guess. So you get a text, you read the text, respond, and done. Repeat.
But with Yo… you get the alert… and then you’re back in real life. You can’t really respond other than sending your own Yo back but that’s not the point. The point is you take action. Real action. It cuts out the whole time spent on the app and immediately sends you to act in real time, in real life, in front of real people.
In other words, it’s the ultimate disposable media.
So we’ll see. Anything could happen.