By Molly Freeman and Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
A new trend in communication apps seems to be micro-communication–such as Yo and Beer?!. Molly Freeman and Dane Feldman of BTR’s The Hash, a show about relationships and communication, weigh in on this phenomenon.
First there was Yo, an app that went viral online this summer and had the singular function of sending a simple message of “Yo” to friends who also had the app. Although many had high hopes for Yo, others thought it to be rather useless (us included). The simplistic app has since fallen out of popularity.
Beer?! on the other hand, takes the idea of micro-communication a step further by providing context. While a “Yo” could mean anything, the use of Beer?! is narrowed to asking one another out for a beer.
These specific parameters might seem constricting at first, but they provide just enough structure to make the app useful rather than useless–so long as you and your friends enjoy beer and live close enough to meet up for one.
While Beer?! may be a step in the right direction, it’s still just a step. The problem here is that Beer?!’s functionality depends on two main factors:
The first is that the app depends on multiple users per social circle. This is why Beer?! can’t be confused with social media apps and platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter. These apps can be used anonymously or not, but the purpose of Beer?! is to communicate with friends. Therefore, the novelty will quickly wear off if only one person in a group downloads the app.
The second and perhaps equally important factor is that Beer?! assumes too much. Let’s take two friends who have downloaded the app–we’ll call them Tom and Harry. Tom reaches out to Harry through the app, which means Harry simply receives a message reading “Beer?! from TOM”. Harry has two options. He can agree (“Beer!”) or he can block Tom.
But what happens when Harry agrees? Where are they going to acquire said beers? What time? Beer?! doesn’t save these friends any time or convenience. Harry will still have to close out of the app to call or text Tom and gain the necessary meet-up information.
All in all, Beer?! can unite social drinkers, but it has its limitations.