The Yak Is Back!

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The Return Of The YikYak

Join Alyssa and Preston as they discuss the return of YikYak and the changes they’re making on the platform to make sure all users have a positive, anonymous experience on the app.

Yik Yak is an anonymous social media platform that connects you and every other app user within a 5 mile radius in an anonymous forum where you are able to start and join in on conversations with others inside your “herd.” Closing in 2017 after a series of hate speech and cyberbullying scandals and being outperformed by Snapchat, Yik Yak has returned with new owners that are “committed to making Yik Yak a fun place free of bullying, threats, and all sort of negativity.”

Your Weekly Social is Pullman Marketing’s premiere recap show discussing social media, trends, news, and updates across all manner of platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok!


Alyssa Mullins 0:00
Hi, everyone, my name is Alyssa Mullins. I’m the brand strategist here with Pullman Marketing.

Preston Snyder 0:05
I’m Preston Snyder, I’m the account manager and digital Pay Per Click engineer at Pullman Marketing.

Alyssa Mullins 0:10
And welcome to your weekly social! So today, we’re going to talk about how YikYak is back.

Preston Snyder 0:21
Yik Yak is back.

Alyssa Mullins 0:23
For those of you that don’t know, Yik Yak was an app that basically allowed you to post anonymously on the app, and you could interact with people within about a five mile radius. And it lasted for a little bit, and then it just failed. And then the app wasn’t accessible anymore. And now we’re in August 2021, and it is back and available for users.

Preston Snyder 0:52
Right in the midst stuff, I mean, the end of, I mean, the tail of COVID times. For whatever reason, it seems like they’ve been working on this for a while to bring it back and decided this was the time. Interesting things about Yik Yak in particular, the entire basis is they tried to be an anonymous social media platform. So nobody knew who you were, you didn’t know who anybody else was, but it’s just, whoever’s near you in the five mile radius; that’s your herd. And that’s who you’re going to be spending your next time, however long you were all within that radius. It was pretty popular, especially in college towns, or at larger events, which is what they were aiming for, is that people in close community, who maybe weren’t integrated into the community or wanting to meet people without meeting people, would want to integrate there. One of the key points of their downfall, there were two things that back in 2017, caused them to shut their doors. The first was, it had become kind of a harassment platform in some sense. On every platform, you’re going to have people who decide bullying is going to be a good thing to do, it’s an inevitability of the internet. They didn’t have a good way to moderate because everything’s anonymous, so there wasn’t, “How do you enforce that without violating the core of your company?” And then, they had a neat little competitor, Snapchat, who came in and did integrated features, without the anonymous label on it, and they just kind of did everything better, and stole that market share real quick. So they’re two tiny little things that they closed the doors and said, “All right, bye, bye.”

Alyssa Mullins 2:42
Yeah. And I mean, as you can see, Snapchat has been here since it opened up. And I mean, people are still using the app. I use it personally, all the time. But now it’s back. And they added some changes to help protect a lot of the things that happened last time, and we don’t want any cyberbullying, nothing like that. And so they have on their website, you can actually see something called their Community Guardrails. And if you were to go there and click on it, you end up seeing this really long list of rules and things that they have set up to help protect each individual user. In short, for example, you can upvote or downvote the different things that a user might say. And if something gets reported, then it gets looked at by those that Yik Yak and they determine and they go through their process there. The next thing is, if a certain person or user ends up getting up to negative five vote points, then they are removed from the app altogether. And that’s a way to help protect the community that uses the app protect each individual person. But there are so many other guidelines and rules that they have set up.

Preston Snyder 4:07
Another thing that will probably end up being a controversial point is they do have a one strike policy if you violate, in particular, egregious rules. The egregious rules are not particularly defined, but are things like sexual exploitation, doxxing, community with terrorist organizations, violence, like the the big ones that you would expect an organization to have zero tolerance on. The weird concern about the new community guard rails are that the list is longer than the features provided by the app. So at that point, the list of the things you can’t say is longer than the “Hey, cool. This is me” aspect. So what are you even allowed to say? Which is kind of the “It’s back. Your speech is limited Nobody knows who you are, we’re going to come slap you if you tell people who you are by booting off the platform.”

Alyssa Mullins 5:09
Yeah. And actually, if I’m gonna pull it up here real quick, on one of the articles that we’re over here referencing. You know, there’s a lot of people questioning whether or not Yik Yak coming back is a good idea. And the people that Yik Yak do think that it is, because there’s a way to reengaged with people. We’re here in Pullman, and so there is a big college student population; the universities just down the hill or up the hill.

Preston Snyder 5:39
It took off here, originally, as well. When the app launched, it wasn’t necessarily a staple, but it definitely had a community here.

Alyssa Mullins 5:48
And so the overall hope is that Yik Yak can actually bring together local communities, the college campus, etc all together, since we’re in such a small area. And you know, that five mile radius does stretch out pretty far. And hopefully just help people lighten the mood, bring some new perspectives. And you know, just another place to kind of talk in a more anonymous way, though.

Preston Snyder 6:17
Oh, yeah. And as much as we are naysaying and raising the eyebrow at some of the decisions, on the Apple App Store, currently, it is #4 on Social Network with a four star rating so far, so it’s not doing too bad. It’s being picked up; a lot of people are curious, especially probably a lot of people that use it like that originally are going back. And then a lot of people who are like, “What?” are probably going in and exploring. They’re pretty self explanatory: the thing they want is anonymous communication with the people near you. They want to facilitate community, they want to make sure that you’re being appropriate within the community. Another feature that they have is the hot feed. In addition to your regular ones they do a rolling news feed of as things are posted, it’s in chronological order. They also have another tab that is what people like what’s being uploaded, a lot will show up in the feed. So if you do a real good joke, or a spicy hot take, you may be featured in the hot feed section.

Alyssa Mullins 7:22
It’ll be really cool to kind of just see what happens in the next month, especially with school starting up again, for a lot of college students. It’ll be really interesting to see how this app performs and how people like it and what they choose to do with it, you know, with the different community guardrails in place. But also just, you know, we now can talk and do things again. So it’ll be really interesting to see how all of this goes.

Preston Snyder 7:50
You have social networks that do things better, Snapchat is still around to try to improve on this concept. You have Tik Tok, which as much as it’s not a social network, it is a driving definitive force of content creation and viewing. You have YouTube even trying to integrate community features, you have Instagram who’s on fire, and even Facebook, who is still updating and trying to revamp its experience, you have all of these giants who are on the same arena, trying to play around to make sure that their app is the best that can be, and then an old competitor comes back. So, is it worth a try? Probably. They don’t track your information. It’s really easy for you to dip your toe in and dip out if you don’t like it. One of their primary goals, the way they’re advertising, the way that they’re talking about themselves is they just want to have fun. So if you want to try experience, have some fun, see if you can get a good one liner. Check out Yik Yak.

Alyssa Mullins 8:51
Well, thanks guys so much for watching. Don’t forget to comment, like, subscribe, and follow us on Instagram at Pullman Marketing. And yeah, we’ll see you next week.

Preston Snyder 9:04
Yik Yak is back, baby.

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