The production of a social medium that makes people bite seems like a happy accident at best. Yik Yak is one of those networks with a purpose I have yet to fully grasp. The concept of a digital bulletin board is interesting. Anonymity is sometimes hard to come by in an always connected world of consumption, so break from the attention couldn’t be a bad thing. Yik Yak’s function is easy enough to figure out. Users are able to upload anonymous posts visible to others within a certain radius. It’s an interesting concept.
The posts I’ve seen range from the practical to the oddly sexual, and reading what people are saying can be haphazard but oddly entertaining. Interaction is done through up or down votes and the ability to leave comments. Users can also “Peek” into other areas, giving them the ability to see posts but not to add to the conversation.
Despite being a bit of an oddball on the surface, I don’t think Yik Yak should be dismissed on its face. In terms of gauging reaction to, for example, a public PR event, it offers an interesting distinction from a service like Twitter. Yik Yak only allows posts within a certain radius. This could help to filter out the noise from outside observers and allow a practitioner to focus on those within the event. It’s anonymity provides a unique motivator for honesty. The flip side to that is the need to take what’s said with a grain of salt.
Anonymity of course has undesirable consequences in the digital world at times, but from a cursory glance at the service, I believe it should be paid attention to. As its use grows, Yik Yak could easily become another effective tool at reading public sentiment.