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What's Yik Yak all about?

The new app is really popular in colleges and universities

Written by Robert Morrissey | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Do your friends use Yik Yak? Afraid of jumping into the trend and not understanding it? Well do not fear, as we guide you through the social messaging app.

What is Yik Yak?

Yik Yak is actually a very simple app to use, much like Snapchat in its short surge of content for the masses. The app, which lets users post anonymous messages visible only to others nearby using your phone’s location services.

How do I use it?

When you download the app on your Android or IOS device, just open it and you are ready to go. There is no sign up involved as you only use your location to read the posts around you (1.5-10 miles depending on activity).

The main difference between Yik Yak and other social networks. On Facebook you share things with “friends”; on Twitter, with “followers”. There’s no concept like this in Yik Yak, everything you post is visible to anyone nearby anonymously.

The only thing you submit is your phone number if you want to connect with friends.

What other features are there?

Well you can upload photos to the feed or just post messages about what is happening locally. Mostly it is just people sharing jokes. It is a bit like a random thought generator.

Depending on where you live, you might not see much – but if you live near a university, you’ll probably see a lot.


Users vote on local comments, with up pushing it to the top and tapping down putting it at the bottom of people’s feeds. It is kind of like seeing how people react to a random scribble you might see on a wall or bulletin board.


Herds will let you stay connected with your herd; your local area that is. Some people also set up herds about photography and other topics.

What are the risks?

There is a funny side to the app, but you will find some unnecessary posts that can be racist, homophobic, or threatening. The reason for this is the anonymity of posting and the sometimes unregulated posts that slip in.

In the US, the app was banned by the creators in Middle and High Schools using a location based database. At the moment in Ireland this does not exist, but could eventually happen if too many users abuse the app’s function.

So what should I do?

If you decide to try the app, there is no harm in that.  But if you are offended by what you see or if cyberbullying is present, then perhaps it is not for you. Use it wisely and do not draw unwanted attention by posting your personal details. Also be sure to report any cyber bullying you see or experience.

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Published March 2nd2016
Last updated May 22nd2018
Tags online safety apps
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