YikYak is Back: Social Media App Takes Tuscaloosa, Alabama By Storm
YikYak is back!
What’s YikYak, you may ask? The newest social media app has Tuscaloosa in a frenzy.
Most similar to Twitter, YikYak lets you anonymously connect with people within five miles of your current location. Similar to sending a tweet, a user has 200 characters to create a “Yak” that will be posted onto an anonymous feed of other Yaks.
There are no likes, but upvotes and downvotes, which allow users to express their pleasure or displeasure if a Yak is funny or annoying. There’s no such thing as followers either -- only "Yakarma" -- which increases when users upvote and comment on other people’s Yaks.
Because of the anonymous nature of the app, there can be no such thing as influencers. The YikYak algorithm favors nobody and would treat Britney Spears the same way it would treat a high school student.
With no names attached to what users say, YikYak has become a local breeding ground for inside jokes only people from Alabama would understand.
“People from Alabama know not to be fooled by the weather today, we still have two months of heat left,” said one anonymous YikYaker on a particularly cool September day.
“Boyfriend just told me he cheated on me. He told me Roll Tide at the end of it though, so I’m not mad,” said another jokester on the app.
While mostly funny, the anonymity of Yik Yak is why it was originally taken off the App Store back in 2017. With no usernames or even personal accounts, cyberbullying grew rampant and its creators removed it from the internet to go back to the drawing board.
This is some cause for concern for local social media expert and University of Alabama communications professor, Chandra Clark.
“Everything on there is not very positive once again,” Clark said. “There’s some nastiness on there already that I noticed, but there’s nastiness everywhere.
“It’s interesting because my age group of friends, some of them are getting off of Facebook and Twitter because they’re worried about their names being attached to things on social,” Clark said.
Clark explained that YikYak may very well be a positive thing that allows people to be free of societal expectations on social media but expressed doubt that it would catch on in her age group.
Nonetheless, YikYak is back up and running with a new and improved user experience. Their website has links to new community guidelines, mental health resources, and “stay safe resources.”
You can download YikYak in the app store, or checkout their website at yikyak.com.