It seems like everyday a new app emerges and looks to capture the title of the “Next Big Thing.” This week the app “Yik Yak” seems to be gaining traction and it begs the question of whether or not it’s just a passing fad.
Yik Yak has been described as a cross between Twitter and Snapchat. Yik Yak works with location services to allow you to see posts going on around you. It was designed to be used on college campuses to spread information.
Users anonymously post up to 200 characters worth of content. Upon posting, users have the option to create a user name or allow their location to be viewed. In a CNN story about the app, co-founder Brooks Buffington said the anonymous posts are designed to give “…people a blank slate to work from, so you’re not judged on your race or sexuality or gender. On Yik Yak you are purely judged on content you create.”
The content is made viewable through a couple different realms. Upon opening the app, users will be directed towards content that has been created in their area. Users then have the option to view “New” content, which is up to the second posts, or “Hot” content. The “Hot” content are posts that have received the most upvotes and have been deemed very popular.
Users can also choose a location to see posts about fictional locations such as “Bikini Bottom” or “Hogwarts” or to even view other universities. There are also features to view the “All-Time Greatest Yaks” or “Top Yaks in My Area” to see some of the most popular Yaks out there.
With the power to “upvote” or “downvote” content, users have a say in what content reaches the “Hot” category. Upvoting pushes content up to be more easily visible. If content gets downvoted enough times it will be removed from the site. Users can also report data they find offensive and it will be removed. These two tools are instrumental in preventing this app from turning into an app for cyber bullying. Too many reports will lead to an account being suspended for a certain time period.
A big controversy over the app has been it’s trickle down effect into middle schools and high schools, much like what happened with Facebook. While the app is designed to be downloaded by users only 17+ years old, there is no real way to police this. The co-founders have talked about geo-sensing high schools and middle schools to disable an account if it’s location triggers one of these geo-sensers.
After researching and personally using Yik Yak I feel that it’s going to be a passing fad. Barring changes, I don’t feel as if there’s enough features for users to continually come back and not get bored.
Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter by tweeting me @PaulHaramis7.