The Rise And Fall Of Yik Yak
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Politics and Activism

The Rise And Fall Of Yik Yak

Because what goes up, must come down.

The Rise And Fall Of Yik Yak

Does everyone remember that social media app that was sorta like Twitter, but instead, completely anonymous? I remember that app, it was called Yik Yak, and it became the “new Twitter” during my fall semester of my freshman year. It was popular among my friends, and everyone was talking about it. However, the popularity of the app died down after I came back for my spring semester, and it turns out that fewer and fewer are talking about Yik Yak. I wondered how an app which I heard had the potential to be the next huge thing in social media could die in mere months. How did Yik Yak just rise and fall so quickly?

I first found out about Yik Yak when all my friends were talking about it during our meals in the dining hall. My friends had lively conversations about Yaks that were popular and how many ups their own Yaks had received. I didn’t understand how Yik Yak worked, I didn’t know what ups were or downs were, and I was curious if that was the same thing as likes and dislikes on YouTube. I decided to check it out since I was always felt a little out of the loop. Honestly, I was annoyed that I had to find another social media app to get into to be trendy, in addition to Facebook and Instagram and Vine and Snapchat and YouTube.

When I started using Yik Yak, I was utterly confused. These posts, or Yaks as they were called, were either liked or disliked by other users “upping” or “downing” a post. The app is proximity-based, meaning that a user can only see other posts from a 10-mile radius. The Yaks were similar to text messages, except the users were anonymous, and some of them turned out to be pretty weird and outright prejudiced. One example of a weird Yak was when a user posted that he (or she) wanted a cuddle buddy. I was surprised and wondered if the Yak was just a stupid joke, or if the user was actually serious? It might as a well have been a joke, because who would want another user, who could possibly a random stranger, as a cuddle buddy?

I found other Yaks that started great tension between my school, Marist, and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), a school just down the road. A user who seemed like a student from Marist called half of the students of CIA gay. Another user, who seemed like a student from the Institute, stated that Marist should keep their gross polluted bodies away from the CIA boys because "they can’t sit with them." The keyboard warriors didn't stop there. Yik Yak seemed to be sparking great amounts of cyberbullying, and it seemed worse than other social media apps because users were totally anonymous.

After reading many of the Yaks, I felt that should just delete the app because it just looked like it would give me unneeded hate and stress. Even though I saw some positive Yaks that were inspirational and kind messages, I just felt that the bad outweighed the good. From there, I found myself ignoring my friends when Yik Yak was the topic of discuss. And to my luck, as the fall semester drew to a close, the conversations about the app began to die down. The rest is history. When I returned from winter break, the conversations about the app became nonexistent. What a relief. I wasn't the only one who had a negative opinion towards the app.

So why was the app created in the first place? What was the app’s true purpose, and how did it just die? Yik Yak was developed by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, two college graduates from Furman University, and was lauched in November 2013. The app was developed so users could have the freedom to speak their minds while maintaining their privacy. According to Matthew Quintana from the tech site UpStartedthe app earned $1.5 million investment and by June a further 10 million. The app is now close to closing on roughly $75 million.” If this is true, why has the public seemingly lost interest? One guess could be that the app does not seem to be expanding: it still only caters to college campuses and isn't really accessible to to other demographics. This app had great success with colleges, but the success has reached its edge. Another reason is controversy it has faced. Examples being that many Yaks about sexual assault and Yaks that focus on the marginalization of people of different races, religions and sexual orientation have led to the app being banned by schools in Vermont, Iowa and New Mexico. The app has even spurred bomb threats in schools, including those at Norwich University in Vermont and Tatum High School in New Mexico.

All in all, this app was just a trend. It will never be a Facebook, or an Instagram for that matter.Its death was caused by the people — the users who realized just how pointless and negative it really was. So, goodbye and good riddance, Yik Yak. You aren't and will never be missed.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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