Stop. the. presses. Yo, the ridiculously simple messaging app that lets you send a “Yo” to your friends and nothing more, has a new rival. (Or perhaps a more appropriate word would be “parody.”) Introducing Yo, Hodor. As the name implies, this recently launched app offers a different spin on the Yo concept by letting you virtually shout “HODOR!” to your friends instead of Yo.
How can you not download this?
Hodor, people! It’s a “Game of Thrones” reference. Get with it!
OK, fine. I’ll explain: Hodor, a recurring character played by actor Kristian Nairn on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” TV series, is a large, but simple-minded servant who doesn’t really communicate except for shouting his own name, “Hodor.” So when there’s action to be had, and big guy has something to say, there’s a lot of “Hodoring” going around.
The app was built by Tyler Hedrick, a former Facebook intern now working as an iOS developer at social blogging platform Medium. Hedrick teased his idea for Yo, Hodor well before its recent App Store release, joking on Twitter that “Hodoring is so much cooler than Yoing someone.”
— Tyler Hedrick (@tyler_hedrick) June 20, 2014
But at the time, the app was just a little project he had created for himself, not an official App Store download. Hedrick says he had some concerns that HBO or even Yo itself might sue. In fact, those concerns have not abated, which is why the App Store version no longer uses the photo of Hodor as the app’s icon – Hedrick doesn’t have rights to the photo. But that doesn’t mean Yo, Hodor is out of the woods, of course.
“The sound clip I use for push notifications was taken from the show, so they technically own that, too,” he says. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I assume they would give me a cease and desist before trying to sue me.”
HBO, please don’t sue. Seriously.
Hedrick says he began working on Hodor right after Yo blew up (around June 18th), and spent around 4 hours from start to finish building the app as an experiment to see how quickly he could reproduce what Yo had created. Yo, Hodor is built using the Parse backend, just like Yo, which also helped to speed things up.
After a few more tweaks, Hedrick released the app to his co-workers at Medium the following day.
“Everyone thought it was hilarious, so I tweeted about it, which ended up getting quite a bit of attention. I submitted it to the App Store a few days later,” he says.
Unfortunately, unlike Yo, the new Yo, Hodor doesn’t have a “find friends” function, so you have to add friends by name. That makes it a better fit for small groups of friends goofing around than anything serious. (Feel free to punish me for writing about Yo, Hodor by hodoring me at sarahintampa).
“A bunch of my friends have really been enjoying the app, and people at Medium have been pretty excited about it,” Hedrick adds. “People from school and college I haven’t talked to in a while keep hodoring me, which has been pretty hilarious.”
So far, Hodor’s niche user base has sent over 10,000 hodors.
Asked if he has some system for determining when to “Hodor” versus when to “Yo,” Hedrick says, actually, he no longer uses Yo at all. After the Yo security breach, he removed the app, but when he later reinstalled Yo, he couldn’t log back in.
“Now I just use Hodor instead,” he tells us.
Yo, Hodor is pretty funny, you have to admit, unless you’re one of those people who goes apoplectic over any mention of the overly-hyped Yo.
But it’s not the only Yo clone out there, as it turns out. Other Yo-like apps have also popped up since Yo emerged, including Android apps (and possible trademark violations) Yo Messenger by Yo Labs, Yo Keyboard, Yo!, and others.
Yo, Hodor is a free download here on iTunes.
Enjoy it while it lasts because our days of Yo’ing may soon be behind us, it seems:
Update: Hey, look who else had the Hodor idea!
why hasn’t someone cloned the yo app but with hodor
— Darrell Etherington (@drizzled) June 19, 2014