Something that I did not know about is Yik Yak:
Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app. It is available for iOS and Android and it allows people to anonymously create and view “Yaks” within a 10 mile radius. It differs from other anonymous sharing apps such as PostSecret and Whisper in that it is intended for sharing primarily with those in close proximity to the user, potentially making it more intimate and relevant for people reading the posts. All users have the ability to contribute to the stream by writing, responding, and liking or disliking yaks. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yik_Yak)
Recently it has made it to our local news (“Yik Yak yuks raise ire of firefighters as Ottawa students use app for pranks”) where the Ottawa Fire department believes students in closely situated high schools used this app to generate support to pull their school fire alarms within a close time frame of one another.
I suppose I’ve been naive in not realizing social media could be used as a big ‘truth or dare’ game, emphasizing the ‘dare’ aspect. The worrisome part is the easy path this leads to cyber-bullying and law breaking behavior as noted in the article from the Ottawa Citizen.
Hearing about the dangerous use of apps like Yik Yak immediately made me feel like these apps should be taken down and banned. And in fact, it is banned in many cases and the company has put up “’fences” to prevent users of a younger age/geographical location from using it. (Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yik_Yak#Controversy)
However, posting challenges or finding out opinions (‘truths’) via number of likes/votes in a specific geographical location could be very useful for marketing. Organizations can find out community sentiment on a product, event, initiative, etc. Perhaps it comes down to how the app is presented in its inception. That it is meant to be used for positive initiatives. But with the precedent of using it for pranks and cyber-bullying; I don’t know how to prevent the negatives from happening.
What would need to change in order to promote a more positive use of apps like these from the negative ones?