Why ‘Yo’ Is Making Us Yearn For The Complex Beauty Of MSN Messenger

Going offline then online again was a tried-and-tested flirtation technique and screen names were political


by Jess Commons |
Published on

Can we talk about 'Yo' for a second? In case you guys have been mercifully internet free over the past few days, this new app exists solely for the purpose of sending ‘yos’ to your pals. What’s a ‘yo’? Literally an electronic voice saying the word ‘yo’. That’s it. The app received $1 million in funding and over 4 million ‘yos’ have been sent thus far. KIDS TODAY. We don’t know about you but back in our day (quiet in the back there, Grandma’s speaking) we had far more sophisticated means of communicating with each other; namely MSN Messenger. Here’s some reasons why it was probably the most important method of communication cultivated in our lifetime.

It taught you the art of patience

Talking to your friends through the medium of text was a privilege not a right. You certainly couldn’t just pull out your Nokia 3310 and start chatting away to your mates without a care in the world. Nope, nope, nope. Each text cost 10p and your only internet connection was via the family desktop. Unfortunately though, your sister liked to chat on the phone which meant the internet was tied up and your brother liked to play Sims, and that kind of tied up the computer. Your MSN Messenger time was therefore limited to a brief window of time after school before he came back from football practice and just before your sister called her boyfriend back after hanging up on him for daring to speak to 'That slag Tracey Watkins'.

It forced you to be creative

Screenames were big business. You’d already spent several hours agonizing over the life-changing decision of what to choose as your email address (missyhotbitch20022002@hotmail.co.uk thank you very much) but the concept of a screename that could be changed daily kept you on your toes. If you had a boyfriend it was easy ,'.-~'¨¯¨'·~-.¸-ADAM+JESS4EVER-,.-~'¨¯¨'·~-.', if not, erm, 'Oº°‘¨No one understands me¨‘°ºO' was always a good shout?

Diplomacy was a skill fast learned

You never got mad at Sarah. Not since that time in Year two when she ate your Wagon Wheel out of your lunchbox when you went home sick. Once she copied your MSN font (Comic Sans, baby pink) though, things changed. Luckily before you bitched her out for it you realised there were far more important things to worry about - namely the fact that James Rawlings was having a party on Saturday and Sarah's dad giving you a lift was your only method of trasnport. Therefore you magnanimously let the whole font 'incident' slide and quietly switched yours to baby blue Papyrus.Way to be the bigger person.

**It taught you to interact maturely with the opposite sex **

Was there a more grown-up way to get your crush's attention than by signing in and out of MSN Messenger while he was online so a notification featuring your name kept flashing up in the lower right hand corner of his screen? What with internet connections being what they were, a faulty connection was the perfect excuse for this definitely-not-desparate act of flirtation. Other excellent tactics? Quickly switching your status to 'offline' when that weirdo from maths class you accidentally snogged after seven WKDs in the park last weekend came online.

It helped father modern speech

Before YOLO there was BRB, before TBT there was G2G. You pioneered acronyms in casual text speak in a day when the elder generations were up in arms over the fear that we'd end up writing 'LOL' in essays, on CVs and in university applications. These days, terrible grammar amongst the teenage generation is a given but without the beautiful nonsense you once wrote on MSN Messenger who knows how good it might have been? Here's to the downfall of the English language.

Follow Jess on Twitter @jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us