Social Media Strategist


Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

Farewell YikYak: The Devil You Know

-by Jon-Stephen Stansel

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't

I first heard about YikYak from the very social media saavy university police department when I was working at the University of Central Arkansas. Since then, it became a part of my daily tasks to check into YikYak for possible threats and other issues that might occur on campus. I cringed every time I opened it, knowing that I was about to read some pretty vile stuff. So when I heard last week that the anonymous location based social network so popular on college campuses was going away for good, I was surprised to find myself a bit sad to see it go. Despite all that was horrible about it, it did have its advantages:

·         An Honest Pulse of the Campus

Yes, YikYak was mostly obscene jokes, attempts at hook-ups, and overall bathroom wall graffiti, but it also was an unfiltered view of student thoughts and opinions that university admins are seldom privy to. When I was interviewing for social media jobs at several universities, I checked YikYak as I toured their campuses. It gave me a better idea of what I might be getting into if I should take the position as social media manager for that school.

·         Self-Policing

YikYak’s system of up/down voting posts kept most abuse off the app. YikYak users developed their own rules for the community and used this system to keep them in place. If this system failed, the community’s comments often showed their animosity towards the offending posts.

·         YikYak Was Willing to Cooperate with Campus Officials

When posts threatening violence appeared on the platform at many college campuses, YikYak was willing to work with authorities to provide the IP addresses of offending users. Those making violent threats where usually arrested within hours of making the offending posts.

·         YikYak was the Best of the Worst

With YikYak gone, it leaves a hole to be filled. Other anonymous apps such as Yeti and Jodel will rush to fill the void. Who knows what might come next. The next YikYak might not be as cooperative as its predecessor.

Yes, YikYak was mostly horrible. For the last few years YikYak has been a thorn in my side that just wouldn’t go away. It would start to lose popularity and then rise again. Even at its lowest, it held on to a loyal and mostly disgusting user base.  And while it could never seem to find a way to monetize, it somehow managed to hold on. But while I will be pleased to finally delete the app from my phone, I have a feeling I'll might miss the days of YikYak. After all, I'd much rather have the devil I know.