Yik Yak is back!

After a 4 year hiatus, the anonymous social message board app has been relaunched. The new Yik Yik is comparable to its original version with the main aim being to provide conversations that are free from the “labels” and hyperfocused on local communities.

Yik Yak refers to the people on the app within a 5-mile radius of each other as a "herd" - which is why the app is so popular on college campuses and even high schools. Similar to Reddit, posts can be upvoted and downvoted. The app also curates “hot” feeds of the top post from the past 24 hours. The anonymity feature is intended to make it easy for conversations and thoughts to be shared without users worrying about labels.

For reference, Boise State's student newspaper, The Arbiter reported on some of the postings from Boise State's Yik Yak back in 2015. Which were things like, "I think my English 102 professor ate too much paste as a kid" and "For the love of god, fix the ice cream machine." All posts were relatable for students on Boise State's campus in one way or another.

Students at the College of Idaho had a different experience with the app back in its heyday. The College of Idaho actually tried to ban Yik Yak in 2015. According to The Idaho Statesman, a resolution was passed by the Student Senate to rid the anonymous social app from campus for good after seven students reported being personally threatened on the app. Eventually, the College of Idaho requested for the app makers to install a "geo-fence" to disable the app entirely on campus.

The controversy of Yik Yak wasn't specific just to the College of Idaho. In fact, the main reason for the app shutting down in 2017 was due to the growing criticism that it was a platform that fostered cyberbullying.

With the relaunch, the company has addressed this criticism on its webpage with new "community guardrails." Personal details about a user, like names, physical attributes, and social handles are not to be shared or posted about. There is also a one-strike "no bullying" ban that will be implemented against users who engage in harassment, bigotry, violence, sexual solicitation, and criminal activity on the app.

I was in college from 2015 - 2019 so I had full advantage of Yik Yak in its glory days. In fact, I'm pretty sure checking out the Yik Yak discourse of my perspective colleges was part of my college selection process. It's anonymous and unfiltered and while that surely encourages free speech, that also isn't always a good thing. Hopefully, Yik Yak can provide more of a positive experience for students the second time around.

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