The newest social media phenomenon, especially when it comes to the area that I specialize in, is here. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will very soon. Yik Yak is a community messaging service that has taken college campuses across the country by storm. Of those universities heavily engaged in the service, Coastal Carolina University is one of them. Before I go any further, let me explain the twist of Yik Yak…
It is completely anonymous.
The service is organized by communities. A community is an area defined by a 10-mile radius. If you fit within those parameters, you can communicate with other smart phone possessing folks also in that area. Visualize a Twitter feed for a second. This is similar to how content is displayed in Yik Yak. However, the major wrinkle is that instead of a handle identifying who the message is from, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish who says what. It is a complete free-for-all of text streaming up and down the screen with no one to attribute the content to.
When a user posts something on Yik Yak, it is called a Yak. Users can respond to Yaks. They can also vote Yaks up and down. If a Yak is supposedly voted down enough it is deleted from the community. Rules state that you can’t post phone numbers, bully other users, or fill communities with spam.
Before you download Yik Yak on your smart device let me warn you…it is not for the faint of heart. Realize that you have college students releasing every thought that enters their head with the knowledge that whatever they say is completely anonymous and carries with it absolutely no consequences. As you can probably imagine, communities that are especially active are filled with heavy sexual content, drug references, and bad language. But if you can get past all that, Yik Yak is pretty fun.
This past weekend when I was in Columbia for ESPN College Gameday I was following the University of South Carolina Yik Yak community pretty intensely. It was a lot of fun seeing what others were saying about the Gameday experience and I was enjoying interacting with fellow users. It made the waiting process go by much quicker.
However, when it comes to the school that I work for, I don’t utilize it to socialize. In fact, to be completely honest, I haven’t yet developed a social media strategy for Yik Yak yet at Coastal Carolina University. Rather, I am still experimenting with it and seeing which direction I want to take. For the past several weeks I have sprinkled CCU updates and marketing messages within our community. These Yaks have garnered both positive responses and sarcastic comments from fellow users. The main problem for someone in my position is that my Yaks carry no more credibility or significance than the dude sending out Yaks regarding the inappropriate things he wants to do to the girl in the dining hall. Whereas with every other social media service I am able to take on the respected identity of Coastal Carolina University, with Yik Yak I am just regarded as a nerd sending out G-rated messages.
For any social media marketer to turn a blind eye to Yik Yak would be a major mistake, especially those working on college campuses. Coastal Carolina University has a presence on this new service that is very involved. It is now my job to figure out the best way for CCU to effectively enter the discussion. Any ideas would be appreciated. Don’t Blink.