And you thought you bellowed your last yak.
After a four-year hiatus, the Yik Yak social media app is back. Is it here to stay? Particularly popular on school campuses, Yik Yak allows users to create short, anonymous messages visible only to those within a 5 mile radius. Originally launched in 2013, Yik Yak closed in 2017 following cases of cyberbullying and harassment. But in August, Yik Yak relaunched and returned to the App Store, and Northwestern students are posting again.
Yik Yaks often vary in form and content, but they tend to share a unique sense of humor.
“I’m going to eat an apple in the quiet part of (Mudd Library) just to get a feel for something.”
“I heard that a straight white guy didn’t specialize in Econ so they neutered him.”
“Football players’ moped speed should be proportional to the number of matches they win.”
First-year communications student Jeff Snedegar uploaded Yik Yak right after he arrived on campus. He said his sense of privacy and freedom sets the app apart from competitors like Twitter or Instagram.
“It’s completely anonymous, so the students can be as dirty or vulgar as they want and they know it won’t be tracked,” Snedegar said. “It’s a fun time.”
Yik Yak’s content mixes crude humor, clever jokes and inner jokes based on shared experiences of the NU community, according to Snedegar. That sense of camaraderie is part of what made him so popular here, he said.
Communications junior Maggie Grond downloaded the app less than a week ago. She said the way everyone on Yik Yak is willing to share their deepest thoughts and aspirations has caught her off guard.
While she can see this is popular for a while in specific social circles on campus, Grond said she wasn’t really confident Yik Yak would really take off at NU.
“I think it’s just a trend,” said Grond. “I don’t think it has the same appeal as something like TikTok or Twitter. It’ll take a few months, maybe, and people are going to be fed up. “
Weinberg, second year student, Aviva Kaplan downloaded the app earlier in the term because she noticed it was taking off at other schools. She said she appreciates how fast and accessible her content can be.
At the same time, Kaplan said she was not sure anonymity policies were healthy for students.
“It can certainly be problematic,” Kaplan said. “I could also see that there was a silver lining to it, but honestly I don’t know how much it contributes to people’s mental health. “
Grond said that Yik Yak’s anonymity and mystique makes him a little exciting to use, and she can see how the secrecy and privacy of the app would appeal to students at NU. But she doesn’t see herself engaging more with the app in the future.
Snedegar also questions the longevity of Yik Yak. For him, whether the application is here to stay or not is a matter of chance.
“I could see people trying to really be creative on Yik Yak for another week or two, but then when the mid-sessions roll in, everyone kind of loses,” Snedegar said. “But I don’t know – people still use Instagram and Twitter, and those are blocked. Maybe Yik Yak will too.
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