Yik Yak is an app for iOS and Android devices that offers users a forum to interact with other users in the same area, in order to post and share comments, as well as respond to comments posted by others. (Yik Yak, Inc. 2015)
This anonymous app is primarily used among college students to view Yaks within a 10 mile radius, however users also have the option of viewing Yaks within other college areas. Viewing nearby Yaks helps to make the app relatable and relevant to users within that specific area. Users have the option of responding to, ‘up-voting’ or ‘down-voting’ a Yak, which is a 200 character anonymous message that usually consists of something funny and/or relevant.
“As a first-year college student, it is nice to be able to go on Yik Yak and see that someone else may be having the same problems that I’m experiencing, along with other people who will yak something just in hopes of making you laugh,” said Lexy Lentz ‘18.
“It is a really great app to use if you enjoy being able to say things while staying anonymous, but if you’re the type of person who takes what they read personally then this might not be a good fit for you,” said Lentz.
“It is social media so people will still act like jerks at times, and part of being a smart consumer is knowing what limits there are and know that even though it is an anonymous app, it is still social media and there is still the risk of someone finding out you said or did something,” said Lentz.
Although Yik Yak is meant to be an app for entertainment and anonymously connecting with other college students, not every student who has used it is a fan.
“I had first started using Yik Yak at the beginning of September 2014 and stopped using the app two weeks later,” said Abigail Mohammed ‘16. “I disliked how rude people were. The anonymity gave people the courage to say incredibly rude things knowing fully well that in person they would lack the courage to say that kind of stuff. I would not recommend this app to anyone.”
Mary Thomas, Assistant Professor at St. Kate’s, downloaded Yik Yak out of curiosity when she first heard about the app in order to gain an understanding of what the app is and what students use it for.
“I simply got the app to see what all the fuss was about and once I did, I got rid of it as I was very disappointed to find out how crude students were on it because they were anonymous,” said Thomas.
Lauren Heavey ‘15 is another Katie who uses Yik Yak but has a neutral view of the app; she has been using it now for about four to five months.
“It’s nice to have a space to vent anonymously, and I think it serves its purpose pretty well,” said Heavey. “There’s sometimes weird stuff that shows up on the app and it’s definitely not something I would encourage younger people to use, but when I’m bored at the bus stop or in between classes, it’s interesting to see what the people around me are thinking about.”
Yik Yak is a popular app that is used mainly with college students and is still today a controversial app due to its anonymity. Since some find the Yik Yak users insensitive, it is not for everybody. The same goes for other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so forth. Others, however, find Yik Yak as the perfect place to vent and find people to relate to.