There are more social media channels than just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest (the ones I traditionally use). I recently learned about Yik Yak, a relatively new app that is widely used by students; in fact, Yik Yak specifically targets college students through innovative campus introductory tours. Younger students are avid fans as well…I first heard about Yik Yak because it was used to issue a bomb threat at an elementary school. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the perpetrator ended up being one of the students.
Unlike other social media sites, Yik Yak doesn’t have followers or profiles. It’s deliberately designed to let users remain anonymous. Interestingly enough, it only connects users within a 10 mile radius, explaining its popularity within schools and college campuses. So if you don’t live in an area with a lot of Yik Yak users, your news feed will be pretty sparse.
How does it work? Yik Yak is a localized social forum where users make posts, known as yaks, which are then upvoted or downvoted by viewers who might also make a comment/reply. Users earn yakarma, similar to reputation points, by the most upvotes they receive.
When I asked others about Yik Yak, those who had heard of it confirmed that it’s the app younger students most use before school, and the one they check as soon as classes end for the day. It’s estimated that over 1,000 college campuses in the U.S. are now using the app.
Yik Yak is just one of a number of new social media apps that are slicing off a piece of Facebook’s massive market. Here are just a few more:
GroupMe – this is arguably the most popular private group chat app on college campuses today. It’s free and works on just about any device using SMS or push.
Bubbly – make short audio clips, create a voice blog or messages for family, friends and followers using this app that is already popular across much of Asia. Bubbly doesn’t try to ignore the social media titans; users can share audio clips on Facebook and Twitter.
Rinbw – if you think your phone book is just names and numbers, think again. Rinbw is kind of a mashup of Facebook and Vine that lets users create five second video clips as their phone book statuses. If your friends and family are using Rinbw, you can tell what’s happening with them before you even call.