What is Yik Yak? - dummies

What is Yik Yak?

By Ashley Watters, Abshier House

Yik Yak is a social media app that has been very popular among the college-age population. Advertising the app as a way to “find your herd,” the folks at Yik Yak have developed a social app that lets you find those around you. A location-based app, Yik Yak allows people to interact with their local community.

The preview screen of the app YikYak
Yik Yak is a great way to interact with those nearest to you.

Downloading Yik Yak

The Yik Yak app is available for iOS and Android devices. To get started, simply download the app that corresponds to your device:

After you download the app, you will want to allow Yik Yak to access your location. This is how the app identifies your local herds, allowing you to communicate with those in your area.

YikYak requests access to your location
Allow Yik Yak to access your location to find your local herd.

Using Yik Yak

Yik Yak is very easy to use. Once you have downloaded the app, you will be presented with a feed that shows user comments in your localized area. You can choose a handle or not. Many people post anonymous comments without identifying information of any kind.

Yik Yak also allows you to upvote or downvote user content. If you particularly enjoy someone’s yak, you can upvote it, allowing other users to see it.

Along the bottom toolbar, you will see app options. The Home button displays your herd’s feed. If you want to engage with other herds, simply choose the Herds option. Doing so will display a list of Trending Topics, Local Herds, National Herds, and Global Herds. The Chat option lets you chat with other users once you verify your identity with a phone number. The More setting lets you view and modify technical details. You can view the terms, rules, top Yaks, privacy policy, and other important usage information here.

Under the Me option along the bottom toolbar, you can view Notifications and My Stuff. This is your personal history. You can view your previous Yaks and Replies by choosing the My Stuff option. You can also modify your app Settings here.

Yik Yak MyStuff is where users can view their profile information.
This is where your personal Yik Yak Settings live.

Issues with Yik Yak

Because Yik Yak allows any user to post anonymous texts, the app was originally criticized as being a venue for cyberbullying. The app makers have always marketed Yik Yak as an app for those 18 and older. However, a couple of incidents receiving media attention garnered a negative reaction from parents and schools. Since these events, Yik Yak has banned the app from use around high schools and middle schools.

Yik Yak has made their position on bullying very clear. Their rules explicitly state that users should not

  • Bully, harass, or threaten anyone in any way
  • Post personal identification information for any user
  • Post offensive or vulgar content of any kind
  • Post spammy content
Yik Yak Rules and info.
Yik Yak Rules & Info.

If any user does not abide by these guidelines, Yik Yak offers users a way to flag inappropriate content. If your content is repeatedly reported, Yik Yak will ban you from use.

According to NBC News, the app is also addicting for college students. However, use of the app by college students presents a set of other challenges. There have been a few concerns over violent or threatening posts at universities. Most notable are posts promising school violence or threats of shootings. However, college students enjoy the freedom of venting about teachers, finals, and advertising parties or opportunities for hanging out that are best advertised anonymously.