Social media is continuously being compressed to suit the user’s tastes. For those who can’t stand the rambling emotional posts that take up a significant amount of your Facebook news feed, Twitter limits expression of thought to a mere 140 characters.
However, with recent developments in the tech industry the use of words and sentences may soon go out the door.
Silicon Valley hails Yo, the latest messaging app, as the next big thing in social media. It works like this: you select a contact, press a button, and he/she will receive a text notification saying ‘YO’, along with a recorded voice that shouts the message. The app, available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms already has over one million users.
It is the #1 on the App Store in Israel and in the top 10 in more than a dozen countries, and has also received over $1.2 million (Kshs 1.05B) in funding.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how silly! Yo has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism and ridicule, but it is proving to be useful. In the case of the World Cup fever, anyone who sent a Yo to WORLDCUP would get Yo notifications whenever a goal is scored. In an interesting twist, the app is also being used to alert Israelis, both in the country and abroad, when an airstrike is imminent. Users who subscribe to updates from user REDALERTISRAEL will get a “Yo!” every time a warning is sounded anywhere in Israel.
London based duo, Tom Scott and Matt Gray, think it is time to get rid of words in social media completely. The two cast members of the British version of Technical Difficulties (a podcast and webshow that looks at the amusing side of technology) have created a social network with the tag line “No words. No spam. Just emoji.” The site is called emoj.li.
Emoj.li users will communicate entirely in emoji, the tiny cartoonish icons that are commonly used in text conversations. The creators were motivated by the success of Yo and also the addition of 250 new emoji to the Unicode Consortium – the determinant of characters that can be used in typing on popular devices such as smart-phones and tablets. The project was set to remain a pipe dream until Scott and Gray decided that the usernames would be in emoji only. The site is yet to be launched, but is accepting username reservations. Already the app has over 45,000 users.
Emoji-chatting is already a popular trend in Asia, which is where the icons originated from. They are already used to have full conversations and express things words could never describe. With there being over 1,000 emoji in existence and more on the way, Emoj.li may not be such an implausible idea after all. Emoj.li provides a spam free environment, seeing as there is no actual emoji for spam. The most offensive emoji you can receive is a picture of a pile of smiling poop so you can kiss internet trolls goodbye! With everything being expressed in frivolous cartoons, language barriers are no longer an obstacle and the global village reduces even more in size.
The app is yet to launch.