Emulating the rapid impact Facebook had on the lives of college students everywhere in the mid-2000s, Yik Yak has been the new kid on the block that has been making a huge impact on college campuses across the country. Though social networks are quite the norm now with many competitors trying to carve a slice of the user base for themselves, the recent announcement of Yik Yak receiving a web client has sent the social media world abuzz.
The mobile app provides iOS and Android users with access to an anonymous social network where users can post and view “yaks” incognito, the threshold being only able to see yaks posted within a 10 mile radius. Users will be able to contribute by posting their own yaks for people to see, responding to them directly, as well as up- and -down-voting them. At first glance, one could say that Yik Yak is a “lite” version of Twitter, but the focus is not on the functionality of the app. The focus is how college campuses and other close-contact communities will make use of it in order to spread news and gossip rapidly. In today’s world of instant messaging becoming a necessity, apps such as these will skyrocket in popularity.
The mobile app was first launched on college campuses in Atlanta in 2013, and the web version has been in closed beta since the final quarter of 2015. Content was typically centered around events happening around campuses along with certain news updates, but users also shared jokes and comments about other users. While the app has caught on almost immediately with college-aged users (over 100 campuses were registered by summer 2014), the app proved to be in irresponsible hands with the high school aged crowd, who used it primarily for bullying. This led to the developers to geofence high schools and middle schools from making use of the app.
Though one would think that alienating a sizable chunk of their user base along with any younger prospective users seems like a huge dent in their armor, it has been anything but. Yik Yak has actually raised over $61 million in funding led by Sequoia in 2014, a very large sum of money for a fledging social media platform. Given that word of mouth along with critics and student alike lauding the social platform, we’re very excited to see how that performs once it hits the web.