The week of Yik Yak


Posted on February 19, 2015 by

Yik Yak was brought to my attention via a post that was recently found doing the rounds on Medium. It discussed how teenagers are ‘actually’ using social media.. not in the way that we as marketers dictate and want them to be but, you know, in real day to day life. It contained the standard ‘Facebook is dead but not dead’, ‘Instagram is where the party is at’ chat that I expected, but honestly, I had no idea what a Yik Yak was. I’m ‘old’ in internet years it would seem despite constantly surrounding myself with the latest trends and developments. I’ve always found the best way to stay in touch with what’s current across different ages is simply to speak to that demographic directly and actually read feedback when you see it. So, here’s the craic on Yik Yak from Medium’s ‘actual teen’ perspective:


Yik Yak is a rather new contender, however, a ton of friends in college have the application. It has gotten to be so addicting because it focuses solely on the content of your posts—there are no followers, no profiles, nothing. Whatever is funny/relevant is at the top and everything else is at the bottom, whether Kanye West is the one who is writing it or some random kid who never talks in class.” – Actual teen


Curiosity got the better of me and so I embarked on a week of using the platform to see what it was all about. I live about one mile from a college and I work within a couple of miles of University of Leeds campus too. This would have an important impact on my experiences to come that week. I checked it in the morning, lunchtime, periodically throughout the day and late at night. Most of the anonymous content posted seems to fall into one of a few categories:


1. Observation based humour Yak

2. Attempt at profound/reflective Yak

3. Funny quote Yak

4. The ‘whinge’ Yak


When you post, other users in your area get to vote your Yak up or down. It’s the classic ‘thumbs of fate moment’ from Caesar in Gladiator but that fate is judged several times a day. Are you a social hero or anomalously not funny? One thing that was apparent from early doors was that whinging gets you nowhere on this platform. People don’t know or care who anyone else is on there, so there is no room to tolerate miserable, self indulgent sentiments! DOWN VOTE


Thumbs down Yak


A lot of the content is based on observations. Some golden material can come from procrastination if you’re in college it would seem and I got a few laughs from reading it. Dedicated ‘Funny Yak’ Tumblr accounts have even emerged, uniting Yik Yak around the world!


There has been a lot of concerns raised that it provides a vehicle for bullying due to its anonymous nature, a fair criticism and difficult to look past. Personally, I didn’t encounter any, but it’s clear that trolling could be a serious problem. Apps like Shout have emerged that make people accountable through verification for what they post. After a week using this thing, the liberation gained from being able to post whatever you want without it flying into your friends’ news feeds is clear to see. An outlet for fun and silliness, Yik Yak will continue to nurture a small dedicated community who are looking to waste some time and become the hero of their local clique.


I have to say, I don’t think that Yik Yak is really for me. If this had been around when I’d been looking for any possible reason to not revise when sat in the library, it’s safe to say that I would have been a regular Yik Yakker.


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