YikYak: Totally Whack

Ok, I’ll admit it. I eavesdrop at every chance I get. I really can’t help it.

In the recent developments on the Facebook pages of UMass Crushes and UMass Confessions, eavesdropping has become a common pastime for college kids. A new development has been released by name of Yik Yak. I first heard about it when the boys in the back of my Quality Management class were reading out the funniest Yaks that they wrote before class (Shout out to the Squad boys, you know who you are). When I logged in on Facebook in the evening for my pre-homework procrastination, I see a sponsored add in my news feed.

Yik Yak Image

What’s all this buzz about?

Yik Yak is advertised as a live feed of users around you who can connect and share information with other without having to know them. Content can be upvoted to be seen more by members of the community. The slogan? Spread the word to grow the herd.

Sounds all fun and games, eh? I see Yik Yak as an anonymous twitter, where you are part of a group, and get points for how entertaining you are- and that’s the candy coated version. Now let’s get down to the real talk.

As a natural skeptic and occasionally outspoken, curious person, I try to see the bigger picture and find out what makes Yik Yak so successful.

What makes Yik Yak attractive?

– Anonymous twitter – You can be as obnoxious, and no one will know! (WIN)
– Upvotes – Get popular, increase your Yakarma [point system] (WIN)
– Downvotes – Participate in ruling out meaningless Yaks. You’ve got the power! (WIN)
– Comments – Share your opinion with the world, because it matters, right? (WIN)
– Success – For the start-up nerds like me, Yik Yak secured 1.5 Million dollars from angel investors as of April 22, 2014. Woah, man. (WIN)

Let’s take a look at the darker side. Picture Yik Yak as a Sweet & Sour candy- except the opposite. First, they’re sweet, then they’re sour.

– Promotes slander – Cyber bullying is getting worse, and this is an easy way to spread rumors and bully. In addition, news reports claim that bomb threats are being posted as well, and teens have been punished. (NO BUENO)
– Adds the need to always use your phone – Over the past 5 years, smartphones have dramatically changed how we engage. With Yik Yak, users feel compelled to post about all their daily experiences. Would we really say that “Josie smells” to Josie’s face? Or are we going to Yik Yak it? Probably the latter. (NO BUENO)
– Geotags – Your location is posted at the time that you post a Yik Yak. Practically an invitation for a stalker.(NO BUENO)

How about we spread the herd to end the word.


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