Yik Yak, once a mega-popular social media app targeted at college campuses, has become more and more irrelevant to students over the last two years.
Last Thursday, Yik Yak CEO Tyler Droll announced that they were laying off quite a few employees, saying they “recently made some strategic changes at Yik Yak in line with our key areas of focus for the company.” He added, “We are incredibly appreciative of their contributions toward making Yik Yak the special place for college students around the world that it is today.”
However, USA Today College points out that it may not be such a “special place for college students.” When speaking to students at a few different campuses, the general consensus seemed to be that the app has been almost forgotten. Boston University sophomore Tyler Armey said he deleted his a year ago, and although someone occasionally talks about the app, he feels, “It definitely has no where near as strong of a presence as other platforms like Facebook and Snapchat.”
To give a numerical value to its drop in popularity, the app made it to #3 on the iOS apps charts in 2014 but is now at an unimpressive #447, Business Insider reports.
One of Yik Yak’s biggest draws was its anonymity. People could post anything they wanted without others on the app knowing their identity (although a few high-profile cases showed that if you did something illegal on Yik Yak, like make racist threats, authorities could find you). But when an update came out forcing students to create a username for themselves which was then attached to anything posted, like a Twitter handle, the app’s popularity dropped.
While forcing users to attach a username to their posts may have seemed like a bad idea, it was likely implemented to stop the cyberbullying that was becoming common on the app. The issue got so bad among younger students that the founders teamed up with company Maponics in 2014 to create a geo-fence around every elementary, middle and high school in the country to prevent students from being able to use the app while at school, the Huffington Post reported.
Unfortunately, it seems like Yik Yak can’t win their popularity back. Now that many students have given up on the app, it doesn’t seem like reverting back to optional usernames is going to bring the app back into the limelight on college campuses.