Yik Yak combines the most popular social media and app features on one platform: people share short, anonymous posts –which can receive an upvote or downvote– on location-specific feeds. However, while components may remind people of popular sites from Twitter to Reddit, Yik Yak distinguishes itself by targeting college campuses. While yaks typically share jokes, the app can also be used to organize a casual sports game or share good news on campus. The Yik Yak team rewards the funniest posts by pairing the yak with a cartoon, then sharing it with their social media following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
More than 200 college and universities have their own Yik Yak feeds. Each feed is organized by new (showing the most recent Yaks) or hot (showing the most popular Yaks). While a phone’s location will automatically display the closest campuses’ feed, the “Peak” tab allows people to read about what other campuses are yakking about. Or, if people are in a hurry for a quick laugh, the top yaks can be accessed in the “More” tab. These yaks are categorized by All-Time Greatest Yaks and Top Yaks in My Area. In this tab you can also find More Top Yaks, which takes you to a Google image search of yak– proving that users aren’t the only ones with a sense of humor, but the team behind the app too.
For Hogwarts fans (I mean students) curious about the latest Harry Potter news and jokes, visit the Yik Yak Hogwarts page. Freshman Advice, Sports Headquarters and Yik Yak Shark Tank offer three other fictional feeds. However, these all appear to be temporarily removed.
Yik Yak shares their favorite posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Other social media posts include footage from the Yik Yak Fall Campus Tour. Promotions range from the Yik Yak mascot showing up to frat parties to having students #RidetheYak (similar to a mechanical bull) with videos uploaded on Instagram. Yik Yak has also invested in promoted tweets from Twitter. Although the app and advertising efforts target current students, alumni may be interested in following their alma mater’s feed. Although some jokes may be recycled from the Internet, many Yaks have campus-specific references.
When people post Yaks, replies, upvotes, and downvotes, they receive Yakarma. The app does not require a sign-in, but the app does monitor the phone owner’s usage for their point system. Once downloaded, a person receives 100 Yakarma points. Yakarma points seem rather useless, besides when comparing scores with friends to establish who is more popular on the app.
The app was first introduced in November 2013 and has built a significant social media following. Popularity with Yik Yak is no joke, receiving a 4/5 stars in the Apple Store. However, there is a growing concern that the app can offer a platform for bullying and spreading rumors.
Will you download Yik Yak or just follow the social media feeds for more filtered posts? What other platforms combine elements from other websites? How can Yik Yak expand beyond college campuses?