‘Yik Yak’ brings anonymous virtual message board to CPP

By Saara Lampwalla

“Hello, I’m a Cal Poly Pomona student and I am addicted to Yik Yak.”

This sentence is one of many posts you can find on Yik Yak, a new social media app.

Combining the features of popular social media sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Snapchat, Yik Yak offers users the ability to participate in an anonymous forum.

Users, or yakkers, anonymously post their thoughts, observations and questions for others who are within an immediate radius of them to see.

The anonymous yaks are posted to a bulletin board, where yakkers can anonymously upvote, downvote and comment on them. Yakkers accumulate Yakarma points for participating.

The app categorizes yaks into “New” and “Hot.” Once a yak is posted, it has an allotted amount of time to draw activity. If a yak does not receive enough attention through comments and votes, then the post is deleted forever. If a yak attracts a lot of attention, then it is posted to the “Hot” section where it can gain even more upvotes.

Yik Yak offers a featured section where users may look up common yak themes such as “Study Tips,” “Gotham City,” “Most Embarrassing Moments” and “Hogwarts.”

Additionally, the app offers “My Peeks.” Users can search and save peek locations to get a feed from a particular location. Yakkers can also peek at other college campuses across the nation.

The anonymous feature contributes to some compelling yaks, but also results in offensive and explicit material. The app has received criticism regarding the potential for cyber-bullying. However, the company cites a strict set of rules protecting its users from such harm.

The first rule of Yik Yak: “You do not bully or specifically target other yakkers.”

The second rule of Yik Yak: “You DO NOT bully or specifically target other yakkers.”

Included in the rules are sanctions against posting other people’s private information and offensive material. Yik Yak states that if a yakker uses the app in those ways, his or her account will be suspended.

Yik Yak was founded by and created for college students. Founders and Furman University graduates Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington released the app in November 2013.

The company even established a fall college tour called “Ride the Yak.” The app’s mascot is touring 36 college campuses across the country. Users are able to take photos and ride the yak.

Since its release, the app has gained popularity at colleges throughout the United States. As more college students learn about it, Yik Yak climbs the Top Free Chart in Apple’s App Store.

CPP is no stranger to the app. Students have their own forum, where yaks are constantly being posted.

“Cal Poly Pomona ” where finding a great parking spot can literally make your whole day,” said one anonymous Yakker.

While some are general statements commenting on exams or the weather, others are explicit, personal and humorous.

Many Broncos have not heard of the app, but the ones who have are enjoying its features.

“The app was really popular at the beginning of the school year, but I think it has died down,” said sixth-year kinesiology student Matthew Armas. “People don’t seem to use it as much because the quality has gone down.”

First-year mechanical engineering student Jeff Kirkpatrick, however, thinks otherwise.

“I use the app three to 20 times a day,” said Kirkpatrick. “It’s a fun way to interact with other people; it is interesting and funny. It seems to be pretty popular amongst the dorms.”

Lauren Vega, a first-year apparel merchandising and management student, has never heard of the app.

“I think I have seen it on Twitter,” said Vega. “I would download it for entertainment when I’m bored.”

The take on the app that many users and non-users have seems to be the same: it’s good for supplying entertainment.

Time has only treated the app well. It seems that as more passes, more people will be tempted to “ride the Yak.”

Yik Yak

Courtesy Yik Yak

Yik Yak

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