Students return to Yik Yak following the anonymous social app’s relaunch


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Yik Yak, the anonymous gossip app? Popular on college campuses, relaunched this summer and is gaining the attention of students.

Joshua Perry, Assistant Campus Editor

And you thought you’d yikked your last yak. 

After a four-year pause, the social media app Yik Yak is back. Is it here to stay? Particularly popular on school campuses, Yik Yak lets users create short, anonymous posts visible only to those within a 5-mile radius. Originally launched in 2013, Yik Yak shut down in 2017 following instances of cyberbullying and harassment. But in August, Yik Yak relaunched and returned to the App Store, and students at Northwestern are posting once more.

Yik Yaks often range in form and content, but they tend to share a unique sense of humor. 

“Gonna go eat an apple in the quiet section of (Mudd Library) just to feel something.”

“Heard a white straight guy didn’t major in Econ so they neutered him.”

“The football players’ moped speed should be proportional to how many games they win.”

Communication freshman Jeff Snedegar downloaded Yik Yak just after he arrived on campus. He said its sense of confidentiality and freedom sets the app apart from competitors like Twitter or Instagram.

“It’s entirely anonymous, so students can be as filthy or vulgar as they want and they know this isn’t gonna be traced back,” Snedegar said. “It’s a fun time.”

Yik Yak’s content mixes crude humor, clever quips and inside jokes based on the NU community’s shared experiences, according to Snedegar. That sense of camaraderie is part of what has made it so popular here, he said.

The Yik Yak logo is pasted over a woman’s face with the caption, “I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me.”

Communication junior Maggie Grond downloaded the app less than a week ago. She said the way everyone on Yik Yak is prepared to share their deepest thoughts and yearnings has taken her aback.

While she can see it being popular for a while in specific social circles on campus, Grond said she doesn’t have much faith Yik Yak will really take off at NU.

“I think it’s just a trend,” Grond said. “I don’t think it has the same draw that something like TikTok or Twitter does. It’s gonna be a couple of months, maybe, and people are gonna get sick of it.”

Weinberg sophomore Aviva Kaplan downloaded the app earlier in the quarter because she noticed it was taking off at other schools. She said she appreciates how rapid-fire and accessible its content can be.

At the same time, Kaplan said she’s not sure whether anonymity policies are healthy for students. 

“It can definitely be problematic,” Kaplan said. “I also could see there being a good side to it at all but, honestly, I don’t know how supportive it is to people’s mental health.”

Grond said the anonymity and mystique of Yik Yak make it a little thrilling to use, and she can see how the app’s secrecy and privacy would appeal to students at NU. But she doesn’t see herself getting any more engaged with the app in the future.

Snedegar also questions Yik Yak’s longevity. For him, whether or not the app is here to stay comes down to chance. 

“I could see people really trying to be creative on Yik Yak for another week or two, but then when midterms roll around, everybody just kind of loses it,” Snedegar said. “But I don’t know — people still use Instagram and Twitter, and those are stuck around. Maybe Yik Yak will, too.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @joshdperry

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