Friday, October 17, 2014

Let's Talk About Yik Yak

As most of you reading this are probably already aware, there is a new phenomena out and it is called Yik Yak. If you do not know, Yik Yak is an app that you can get on your smart phone that allows you to post anonymous comments on a live feed. The app shows you comments from other people based on your geographical location.

This app has been popular for a short time now and remains popular among college students. Yik Yak was created by two college students that wanted to create something where people could anonymously complain about anything and everything. The way I see it, this could go one of two ways - really well or really poorly.

There have been issues raised about the app fueling bullying. Yik Yak has set up the app so that if two or more people report a "yak," or screenshot it and email it to Yik Yak, it will be taken down. This helps prevent bullying from happening.

Another issue that has been raised is how it affects college campuses. Trine University in my hometown, Angola, Indiana, has blocked this app so that it cannot be downloaded on their Internet server. This shields the university from any liabilities caused by the app.

It is obvious that students are not the only group of people on Yik Yak. Many adults are using Yik Yak as a tool. Marketing departments can use this app to monitor how their surrounding audience is responding to their services. This is why universities are taking precautions. If they see that someone is going to commit a crime and they do not do anything about it, they can be at fault, but if they have it blocked, they cannot be liable.

This app can be a very helpful public relations tool if it is used the right way. If it is not used as a positive tool, it can cause hurt feelings and may be more harmful issues. It will be very interesting to see where this unique app takes us in the future.

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