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10 Reasons I Love Yik Yak (and none are about marketing)


yikYak21. Yik Yak changes when I drive across town. This is the exact opposite of the globalization of everything else on the internet. You know what is cool about Instagram? I can interact with people at 2am because somewhere in the world it is time to photograph your cat and it doesn't matter what language either of us speak. Yik Yak is the exact opposite. Yik Yak makes it so where you are and having the social skills to interact with the person down the street actually matters to your online experience. Yik Yak primarily allows you to interact with people within 1.5 miles of your current location. It also allows you to set up a "basecamp" location where you can continue to interact. For example, college students can set up their college as base camp and continue to have conversation with classmates while they are home for the summer. Also, if you participate in a conversation, you can continue to participate in that conversation even though you have left the area. I am still in a conversation in New York that started a week ago.

Lastly, you can "peek" on other areas, but not participate. Yik Yak sets up suggested peeks, such as the location of a major sporting event. You can also save your own peek - I have my hometown saved as a peek.

2. It isn't as evil as you would think. Total anonymity and the whole world should go to hell, right? That actually is not how the internet works. Evil in social media is not linear. When there is a little bit of moderation, people start to interact with authority and the evil goes up, not down. It takes heavy moderation to overcome this. Yik Yak has self-moderation: once a comment has a net 5 down-votes it is actually deleted. Also, Yik Yak has started some slight moderation of comments, such as those with direct threats. Still, Yik Yak is far less evil than the comments on the (moderated) website from my local TV news station.

3. There is no whining in social media. We already knew this, but on Yik Yak a net of 5 down votes and it is gone.

4. Your trolling will be graded. Again, we already knew this was how social media worked. In fact, I once belonged to a forum that developed a numerical score for grading trolls with points for originality, etc. On Yik Yak, anonymity means the reader can't be intimidated. Plus all they need to do is swipe left. This goes to point number 2.

5. You win by having a social network beyond Yik Yak. Remember when you were in grade school and you went away to summer camp and then came home with a good joke no one else had heard? Or your Uncle Paul came home from college and told it to you, same thing. That doesn't work on the internet in general  because as soon as you tell a joke it is world-wide. But it does work on Yik Yak. So you can see jokes and games spread organically and geographically, just like happened before the internet. For this to work, the joke or game has to be specific to the Yik Yak interface.

6. Adults can actually talk to teenagers. Okay this sort of is about marketing. Who in marketing wouldn't like to know what teenagers actually think? The saying is that on the internet no one knows that you're a dog. On Yik Yak, no one knows that you are 30.

7. Sometimes Yik Yak actually is news. This works best for places with high Yik Yak usage like college campuses. On a college campus it can be so granular that you can find out a professor is running late to class. In my neighborhood, I found out that the traffic was bad because a funeral for a celebrity was occurring at the church down the street.

8. Highway rest stops are more fun. Don't you ever wonder where everyone is going and what they are up to?

9. You can see people learning the norms of the community. Usually a social media conversation is for the audience. Even if your conversational partner is convinced, there is no way they are going to back down in public. But on Yik Yak, I've seen people actually change their minds in public. When I went into MBA school I gave that as the leadership skill I most admired, so yes, I love to see that.

10. No one has figured out how to exploit it. You would have be very beloved by the community to post an advertisement, otherwise you would have your net 5 down votes in less than a minute. I think I may have seen an advertising post once, at an airport. (If you have seen an ad, please let me know or send me a screen shot.) Even Business Insider merely posted about how to use it, not how to market on it, and the indomitable Gary Vaynerchuk said "you don't know how to do it right" meaning him. As he says, it would take being "very authentic" and being a "practitioner," that is, truly being a community member. It could happen.

UPDATE! Check out this blog post about successful marketing on YikYak!


This post by CRP Social Media President Mary K.D. D'Rozario originally posted at