One can’t ignore the context of Yo’s creation. Arbel is a young, white male engineer financed by a group led by other white, male entrepreneurs—a club of Israeli business compatriots that one might not be wrong to call a fraternity. Meta-communicative though it may be, “yo” doesn’t say, “Are you here” so much as it says, “I expect something from you.”

Perhaps the problem with Yo isn’t what makes it stupid—its attempt to formalize the meta-communication common to online life—but what makes it gross: the need to contain all human activity within the logics of tech startups. The need to expect something from every idea, even the stupid ones, to feel that they deserve attention, users, data, and, inevitably, payout. Perhaps this is the greatest meta-communicative message of today’s technology scene. And it might not be inaccurate to summarize that message with a singular, guttural “yo.”