Accompanied by the app’s mascot, the creators of Yik Yak spoke Tuesday at the SAC via Skype about their experiences working on the social media app.
Creators Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll, recent graduates of Furman University, created the app after watching their first attempt fail.
“After we graduated in May 2013, we released a different app that didn’t do too well, but we saw we had a passion for making apps,” Droll said.
At the event hosted by Delta Sigma Pi, Droll said Yik Yak was inspired by Twitter accounts that were set up anonymously, allowing people to tweet funny comments about campus life.
“The thought is there has to be more than five funny people on a campus of thousands,” Droll said. “Why not give everyone that platform to send a message out instantly to everyone around them?”
Buffington said he remembers when Yik Yak first made its way to UT. He said a student from UT must have heard about it over spring break, when students are mixing on beaches from Texas to Florida.
“I want to say that we kind of blew up there right during y’all’s exam time,” Buffington said.
Droll said the ease of access to an entire campus is one of the main factors that sets Yik Yak apart from other forms of social media.
“You don’t go through the trouble and effort of building up this huge base of followers if you just use location to connect everyone instantly,” Droll said. “You instantly have 1,000 followers right on a college campus.”
The app works to assure that the power of communication rests with the students on campuses, according to Buffington.
“With Yik Yak, it’s democratizing [campus social media] and giving the voice back to everyone on campus,” Buffington said. “Nothing matters on Yik Yak. All that matters is that you’re posting good content.”
Business sophomore Andrew Watts said he believes the app is increasing in popularity because of its anonymity.
“I think students are really interested in Yik Yak mainly because of the anonymity of the app,” Watts said. “You get rid of a lot of the social pressures and tension that you get posting on Twitter or Facebook.”
Aside from humor, Watts said some users post about serious issues.
“Some of the stuff on Yik Yak actually gets pretty personal, with people talking about what’s going on in their lives, how they feel depressed — and so it has actually become somewhat of a support community,” Watts said.