Lots of mirth over “Yo” today but actually there’s a fascinating aspect lots of people are missing. Yo is an instance of “one-bit communication”, a message with no content other than the fact that it exists. Yes or no. Yo or no yo. Other instances of one-bit communication are: Police siren, flashing stop light, “Open” sign, light turned on, and taxicab roof indicator light. But the most interesting instance of one-bit communication is the global “missed call” phenomenon.
Missed call on a mobile phone is used as one-bit communication: “Used in South Asia/Philippines/Africa to communicate pre-agreed messages for free.” Aided by the fact that missed calls cost nothing to send/receive. “In Bangladesh, missed calls are 70% of mobile traffic at any given time.” So the hilarity around Yo includes two problematic biases: Bias that one-bit communication isn’t useful, and bias that all markets are like the US.
I’m not saying Yo will be the next $100B social media powerhouse. But instant dismissal makes little sense; let’s learn and keep our minds open. Excellent followup reading: Jeremy Wagstaff on missed calls.
@HilzFuld Sure, but Twitter got same reaction initially, and now look at us.—
Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) June 19, 2014
@semil @pmarca agree actually -- want to hate it but basic concept is quite refreshing #thenewmodernart—
Jon Russell (@jonrussell) June 19, 2014
@pmarca cycles of fashion. Yo reminds me of my friend @stickyworldwide work creating Budweiser Wassup ad—
Don Sheu 許家豪 (@ulysseas) June 19, 2014
@pmarca Indians traveling to the US in 70s used a similar tactic. The traveler would call a land line for a specific #of rings on arrival—
Abhijit Athavale (@abhijitathavale) June 19, 2014