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The Orion

Yik Yak hits Chico State

yik yak
Cameron Mullen, lead community developer at Yik Yak, said his job is to plant the seed of Yik Yak into communities to let it grow. Photo courtesy Cameron Mullen

All around a classroom, students sneakily scan their phones to stay entertained during a boring lecture. Their screens light up with a bright teal background and a feed of Chico State students conversing pops up on the screen.

This app is Yik Yak, a new social media outlet that anonymously connects people in the community and it has recently come to Chico State.

The Orion yaks with the leading community developer of this app, Cameron Mullen, about the purpose of the app.

Why was Yik Yak created?

The inspiration came from when our co-founder’s were in college. There were a number of Twitter accounts with huge followings, like “Chico State Confessions,” and they are often used by anonymous people who have a ton of followers and can reach the whole campus. The founder’s thought, “Why can’t we give this power to everyone?”


Why is it called Yik Yak?

We love the idea of yaks, and yaks move in herds. And a big part of Yik Yak is connecting with people around you — what we kind of call your herd.

What makes Yik Yak different than other social media sites?

What makes Yik Yak unique is the intersection of location and anonymity. On Yik Yak, you open it up and you don’t need to create an account or friend anyone. You are immediately connected with people within two miles from you, and you can post a yak and your community gets to see it. It’s the cool combo of connecting with people and talking about things you wouldn’t normally be able to.

What is the importance of the anonymous postings?

Anonymity is a powerful thing because it lets you say what you want while keeping your privacy. You can talk about things you might normally not. Content is judged on content alone. It doesn’t matter if you have been on campus for four years or four days, whatever you post is judged based on the content in the post.


Why should Chico State students use this app?

Chico State students would love it because they are connected with people two miles around you and in the middle of campus. It’s all going to be Chico State students. So everyone is going through the same problems, same exam schedule, same inside jokes, so it’s really funny. It also allows you to talk to people on campus you otherwise wouldn’t.


What should students be posting about on your app?

They should post whatever they want, as long as it’s kind. From funny jokes, to jokes they come up with things that they have seen. They should be posting what’s going on and what their classmates want to see and hear.


What is the goal of the app?

One of our missions is to give a voice to people who might not have had one. There might be a funny girl in the back of the classroom but is too shy to speak up. But on Yik Yak, you can keep your privacy and still communicate with the people around you. The ultimate goal right now is growing. We are not trying to make money, we’re trying to spread the word.



Why is it focused on college campuses?

Yik Yak works really well on college campuses and because you have so many students in a really densely populated area that are going through the same experiences. Yik Yak connects everyone on the app within two miles of you. Densely populated areas have a great feed.


Yik Yak has been banned from some college campuses. Why do you think that happened?

Administration reacts in different ways and sometimes they think the best way to deal with it is to push back and not let their students use it. On the other end, what we have seen a shift toward is administration trying to embrace the app. Yik Yak tells you so much about what’s going on on campus.


What kind of responses from the public have you been getting?

You’ll see a number of different responses. People who love it, love it so much, they’ll tweet about it and tell their friends to download it cause they think it’s the best thing. But on the other end, there has been instances of cyberbullying or misuses of the app.


There has been some criticism of cyberbullying. How do you deal with that?

We realize that with any social media application or network, there is going to be a small percentage of people who misuse it. We are constantly trying to improve our platform to make it as positive an experience as possible. The first tool we give the community is down votes — you can down vote posts on Yik Yak and once it gets to minus 5, it’s removed. We see that this takes the bad content off the feed pretty quickly. Beyond that, we have given the feature of reporting yaks. So if you ever think the yak should be taken off, it is reported and sent to a moderation team who can block or ban the user.

Lauren Steele can be reached at [email protected] or @thrasherxlauren on Twitter.


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    amber // Mar 24, 2016 at 10:34 am

    hi, i heard a photo of my ass is on your page….but for some reason i cant seem to find any photos? can you send me a link to your social media pages so i can take a look…

    if it is i would like to at least be tagged….. jk please take it down.