Yik Yak Creators On Rise To Success, Future Of App

Yik Yak Creators On Rise To Success, Future Of App

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The University of Texas chapter of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity brought Yik Yak creators Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington to campus via videoconference on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to talk about how their company's quick rise to success in less than a year. They also took questions from ambitious Longhorns looking to make it big. 

“If you’re in college, go for it as soon as possible,” Droll told audience members. “Your room and board is paid for. Your food is made for you. Just take advantage of that. Once you graduate, you have to start making money. You have a little bit more responsibility…Also, start simple. Don’t try to start this complex business. Try to start simple and find a simple way to test it.”

Yik Yak allows users to anonymously post content to an ongoing message board with other users in their area. Users are able to up or down vote posts, and once a post receives five down votes, it is automatically removed from the board. Since starting less than a year ago, it is now at more than 1,000 universities and colleges in America, according to Droll and Buffington. 

Droll said he and Buffington went to Furman University together, where they partnered up to try and create a successful app-based business. The two were members of Kappa Alpha fraternity there, and after putting a lot of effort into a more complex communication app, the two came up with Yik Yak, originally as a quick way to make funds for their more complex project. 

“What we saw were there were these powerful Twitter accounts, usually run anonymously, and they’d Tweet out these things, usually pretty funny, about life on campus,” Droll said. “And we thought, there’s got to be more than five funny people on campus.”  

Buffington said Yik Yak helps to give a voice back to those without a big Twitter reach. “It was pretty much taking the power out of the hands of these accounts,” Buffington said. “Yik Yak, it was kind of just democratizing that, and giving the voice back to everyone on campus.”  

Buffington said the two got Yik Yak onto college campuses by sending out thousands of personalized emails to the heads of student organizations, going from college to college, moving across the U.S. from the South.  

Droll said the hardest parts of Yik Yak have been keeping it up and making sure that it’s used “the right way.” Bufington said the two made the decision to ban the app from most high schools in America, following a lot of issues with how it was being used at high schools and the ensuing press coverage. 

“We kind of figured that if we were going to have an anonymous or pseudo-anonymous app, then the community was going to have to manage it itself,” Buffington said, referring to the ability to down vote and flag posts. “When high schoolers picked it up, they just weren’t using the tools properly…They weren’t down voting the things with names in them. They were just up voting that stuff…They were up-voting bullying.”  

Droll said the two hope that Yik Yak, which is now mainly just in the U.S. but can be used anywhere, becomes more global and can be used on a global scale amid international incidents as a communication means. “When something is happening on a college campus, Yik Yak will just blow up. We’ve seen this over and over,” Droll said. “Imagine this on a global scale through Peak.” Peak allows users to look in on the Yaks for another area, though they can’t add Yaks or vote on them.  

The two said photo and video might be in the future for Yik Yak, and there are no plans to monetize anytime soon, though local ads via Yaks could one day become part of the app. “We’re just focusing kind of on nailing the experience,” Buffington said. “Way, way, way down the road, it could be a place for kind of localized ads."

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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When You Decide You Don't Love Me Anymore

I'll forgive you.

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I never thought I would write this, but I feel like I have to: there will come a day where you won't love me anymore. This won't be a sad day, but instead a day I have waited for all along. You see, they all leave and that is perfectly okay. People may not be meant to be in my life for all of it, not in any of our lives but this is normal and although initially saddening it is a part of our lives and inevitably part of our journey.

When this time comes I want you to know that we did our best, that we were in fact in love once and that we had hoped it would blossom into a lifetime commitment but it didn't and I accept that and will respect you always. I know you did not wake up one day out of the blue and stop loving me, I know this feeling grew over time in your heart and that it was not something you planned on. I respect this.

You were the only person I trusted and the one I loved the most, but nothing lasts forever and I hope you can understand there is no animosity here and certainly, no stone left unturned. We just are not those kinds of people, we would have tried everything to keep our love burning bright and tried for quite a while to understand where the cracks began so that could fix them, it just isn't that simple. Love is a long complicated process, you know that and falling in love with me couldn't have been easy, I am misunderstood and stubborn as all hell and I am FULLY aware of that but that does not mean I didn't try to ease up on you, I promise I did my best.

I have always done my best to understand you, to make you happy, to keep the flame alive, but it has been extinguished. Love does that sometimes, it is there one day burning bright and then it slowly starts to dim with every fight, every unrequited "I love you" and every day passing by in which we spoke less and less about the things that mattered and more and more about worthless things.

This is all okay, it is a season of life, a part of our lives in which we do suffer but one we must grin and bear. I want you to know that I will always love and care for you, although it is now in a much different way, now we no longer look at each other with doting eyes and open hearts but instead with the freedom to let go and move on.

It is time for us to go on with our lives and find a new adventure, one that will light our hearts on fire instead of continuing to snuff our joint flame. You will always be in my memory and a huge part of my life that I once had but I accept that it's over and that time sometimes wears on things as it has worn on us.

You are the love of my life and that is truly the reason I must forgive you.

Goodbye, my love.

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