A new app called Yik Yak is one of those revolutionary apps that fills a niche and purpose that I find very helpful. If this is your first time hearing about the app, I will walk you through how to use Yik Yak from downloading the app in the app store to tips and tricks to get the most out of the app. I will cover adjusting settings, the rating system, the peek feature, posting your own yaks and more.
Before we get into the details of how to use the app let’s talk a bit about how it was formed and what service it delivers to the users of the app. A knowledge of the app’s purpose will help you get a better idea of how to use Yik Yak and why it’s such a fun app. If you’d like to get more advanced, say for instance accessing Yik Yak from your computer, we’ve got you covered.
What Is Yik Yak?
Yik Yak was launched last year in 2013 by Tyler Droll and Brooks Huffington while they were at Furman University. They created the social media app that would allow people to share news, tips, gossip, stories, and more to those around them. It was initially primarily used around college campuses but has since grown to the general public.
The app let’s anyone post anonymous messages on the Yik Yak server. Then, the app will determine where you are based on the GPS signal and show you all the posts within 1.5 miles from where you currently are. So the app creates a radius around you and that is your Yik Yak group. However, if you go somewhere else, drive to another part of the city, or fly to another city then it will change automatically as you move. There is a limit of 500 users in a yak group so if your radius of 1.5 miles exceeds 500 people then it will cap your group to 500 people.
Anyone can contribute to the conversation and post. Once you have published a message, then people can upvote or downvote the post depending on whether they like it. It’s a similar voting style to Reddit and the best voted posts can be displayed in order of most popular or newest.
Yik Yak has had trouble with bullying, notably around middle schools and high schools. There were several instances of bullying from one student to another. To combat this, Yik Yak has created a geofence that they have enabled across the United States. This creates a block on the app if you are at a high school or middle school. You would have to leave the campus in order for the app to start working again. This helps cut down on bullying.
Unfortunately, there are many other cases where the anonymous app has been used by malicious people. If anyone is ever inappropriate on Yik Yak, downvote them so the post disappears. If it’s very bad or targeted at an individual, make sure you report the person via the app.
How to use Yik Yak
Let’s get into the step by step guide on how to use Yik Yak, including a ton of tips and tricks to make the app more useful and fun to use. This guide will be geared primarily for the iPhone but it is pretty much the exact same for Android, minus a few differences with placement of buttons and such.
Get Started With Yik Yak
Follow these steps to get Yik Yak on your iPhone or Android and get started.
- Open up the app store on your smartphone and search for Yik Yak.
- Tap the download button, you may need to enter in your password for the app store to download the app.
- Once it’s finished, open the app.
- It will ask you a few questions about letting Yik Yak use your location and sending you notifications. You have to let it know your location for it to work properly as it uses where you are to figure out which yak group you’re in.
- After that, you’re done setting up the app. There is no login, no need to register. The app is completely anonymous so you don’t have to worry to sign up, you can start using the app immediately.
Note: since there is no login to Yik Yak, the app doesn’t know who you are but is just tied to which device it’s on. So, if you open the app on a different phone or buy a new phone, your Yaks won’t be transferred over. Therefore, make sure you realize you will have to start over if you get a new phone or use the app on another phone. There is a way to transfer them over by turning on Yaktivity (more on that below) but you have to opt in to the service, it’s not automatic.
Now onto posting your Yaks so those around you can see what you’re thinking and up to. A few things to note, you will need to limit your posts to 200 characters so make sure you think carefully about what you say. You can’t ramble on and write an entire paragraph. To post a yak, follow these steps:
- Open up the Yik Yak app
- Tap on the square with the pen in it at the top right corner.
- You will see a screen similar to the screenshot below.
- Now, compose your yak in the “What’s on your mind?” box.
- You can add a handle to your message which will be similar to adding a hashtag to the post.
- When you’re finished, just press Send and your message will be posted.
A few things to note, you can tap the little arrow icon and it will show you a transparent image of where Yik Yak has you in the GPS. So it will give you an idea of the range of your Yak group. Also, you can turn on the emoticon keyboard on your iPhone or Android and use Yik Yak emoticons within your messages. You can also copy and paste emoji that you find somewhere else into your yaks before posting.
Yakarma (Yik Yak Score)
The next thing of note is Yakarma, which is the rating system that Yik Yak uses to show who uses the app the most. You can get a higher score by using the app more and I’ll break down the point system and how to get the highest Yik Yak score possible.
Yakarma Point System:
- You start off with 100 points automatically when you install and open the app.
- 1 point for every Yak you upvote or downvote. It doesn’t matter which one you do.
- 2 points for every Yak that you post.
- 1 point for every upvote you get on Yaks you’ve posted.
It is unclear whether you get Yakarma points for replying to yaks or not. It seems like sometimes I get points for it and sometimes I don’t. Also, it seems like you get points subtracted from your overall score if you get downvotes. Let me know if you find this to definitely be true, there isn’t any information on it and hard to track as an upvote and downvote may just be canceling each other out.
Yik Yak Peek
Another great feature of Yik Yak is the ability to use “Peek” to view what other people are saying around the country. Typically the groups or circles that are featured on Peek are universities that are popular and using the app a lot. You can use Peek to see what people are posting in other areas outside of your 1.5 mile circle.
This is probably the coolest feature of Yik Yak. You can use the little search icon at the top right (screenshot below) and search for areas to peek into. You can find and add your alumni university or college, add the street where you grew up on, add one of your favorite vacation spots, etc. Just search for them and tap the little magnifying glasses at the top right when the place pops up. This will show you the list of their Yaks. Then you can hit the save button at the top right to keep them to refer back to later.
You can see what is trending or popular at your old university that you went to or see what is going on at your hometown. This is a great way to keep connected to places that you hold dear to you.
Note: You can’t post anything in circles or groups that you “peek” into. You can read the new and hot posts but can’t post anything on your own. You also can’t upvote or downvote anything from a circle that’s not your own. The only thing you can do beyond viewing the message is you can share it via text message, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Yik Yak Me
You can tap on the “Me” at the bottom of the Yik Yak app to access a number of things about your account.
Your Yik Yak Group Map: This will show you where the app thinks you are roughly and where your 1.5 mile circle is.
My Yaks: A list of all the Yaks you have posted along with their upvote score.
My Replies: A list of the replies you’ve made on other people’s Yaks.
My Top Yaks: A list of the very best Yaks you’ve posted, determined by the number of upvotes each one has gotten.
Settings: There are two settings. One is to Sync Yaktivity, which means it will save your yaks, replies, votes, and yakarma and be able to restore it to another device. This is super helpful if you are buying a new phone and want to transfer your account without loosing everything. Make sure you sync it through iCloud and just restore it when you download Yik Yak on a new device.
The second setting is to protect your yaks and replies. This uses your phones password or touch ID to protect all of your Yik Yak activity so only you can see them and other people won’t be able to break in and see your posts.
Yik Yak More
- All Time Greatest Yaks: This will show you the most upvoted yaks of all time.
- Top yaks in my area: The most upvoted yaks within your 1.5 mile radius of all time.
- Other top yaks: A mix of top yaks from around the United States and World. This could be yaks from Chicago, California, NYC, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.
- Share Yik Yak: This allows you to share the app via email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Rate Yik Yak: You will be brought back to the app store where you can rate the app from 1 to 5 stars and write a review.
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: This will bring you to the Yik Yak Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page so that you can follow them and like their posts.
- Contact Us: Use the contact us to report people who are being inappropriate, suggest new features in new releases of Yik Yak, etc. Just enter your email address in, the category, and your note to the staff.
Best Yik Yak Tips of 2015
Now that we’re into 2015 and Yik Yak has changed quite a bit, I thought I’d update you with what is going on and new 2015 tips and tricks that will help you continue to be at the top of the Yik Yak charts and rack up tons of yakarma like no one else. Remember these things constantly change and therefore we can expect that in 2016 you’ll find all new ways to share and experience Yik Yak.
Yik Yak Topical Categories
These are great ways to continue to expand your Yik Yak experience and really connect with people that have similar hobbies, beliefs, universities, sports teams, etc. This is Yik Yak’s way of bringing people with similar interests together. As you know the basis of the app brings people who are geographically similar to one another together to share thoughts and interact. However, what happens when you want to chat with other people that love basketball or a certain band? This way you can find people who want to chat with you and post messages about their experiences with you about a certain topic.
Create Hot Yaks Constantly
It may not be initially obvious but there is a certain formula for coming up with a great yak that will certainly get upvoted and get you a ton of good attention. If you look through the top yaks often enough and from different areas you will find that there are trends to what gets hot and what never really takes off. It also depends on what sort of area you’re in. If you’re in a college town then college appropriate or targeted yaks will get more attention than yaks targeting an older crowd.
It’s essential to be funny in a yak, if you look through the list of top yaks you can undoubtedly see that the majority of them are funny and will make you laugh a bit. This is key if you’re going to try to be as popular as possible and raise your yakarma score. Be funny and make sure you’re topical to what your audience or perceived audience is. This will help you get a bunch of yakarma and overall make the app a bit more fun.
Another great feature of 2015 is that you can now save your peeks in Yik Yak so you can revisit them later. I know a lot of times they get lost and if you go to a different location you can get into a situation where you no longer can find the yak. No worries there, you can always save it and reference it again in the future.
That wraps up this guide on how to use Yik Yak. We hope that you found it helpful and thorough in answering all of your questions and bringing you up to speed on the many uses and features of the app. Let us know in the comments if you know of any other tips or tricks or secrets to help make the app better.