What Is Yik Yak?
If you were in college in 2014-2015, the students at your school were more than likely hooked on a little app called Yik Yak. The app connects members to a location based social network where they can chat with each other about various subjects, crack jokes, and interact freely, but anonymously. Created in 2013, Yik Yak was built on the premise that (ideally) if someone’s identity is masked, they’re more likely to freely engage in more transparent conversation. According to Yik Yak’s website:
“By letting you share news, ask questions, offer support, and interact freely with others who are in the same place at the same time, Yik Yak acts as a springboard for discovering, meeting, and connecting with people in your local community”.
The app’s creators, Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, noticed that the only people getting the most Twitter views around the school were high profile students like athletes. They created Yik Yak as a way for the “common man” to have their voices heard without having to be super popular. Brooks Buffington stated that the app was made for the “disenfranchised”. Now everyone could feel like their opinions mattered.
Founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington (Image Credit: NY Times)
Yik Yak is specifically geared towards college students and uses geofencing to intentionally block out middle and high schools. In fact, you must submit the name of the college you attend in order to gain access to the Yik Yak members within that area. You cannot put in names of cities, restaurants, sporting locations, or tourist attractions. There are no user profiles in Yik Yak and does not have a concept of “friends” or “followers”. It’s more like a virtual bulletin board allowing students to post whatever they want. Because Yik Yak caters to college students, it became an ideal place for college students to vent frustrations with teachers, help each other with homework, or encourage others going through tough midterms or finals. At the height of its popularity, Yik Yak was the #2 most downloaded social media app and #3 most downloaded iOS app in the United States according to App Annie. In November 2014, Yik Yak secured about $62 million in capital from Sequoia Capital. Unfortunately, the anonymous aspect of Yik Yak became much more than venting and has led to a plummeting subscriber base and high level executive departures.
Due to users being anonymous, it allowed anyone to say what they wanted without fear of reprisal. The social network became a breeding ground for demeaning, insensitive speech, often including hate speech and sexually explicit images and language. Many students have complained of bullying and verbal abuse. An excellent 2015 article in the New York Times details many of these incidents. Per the article:
“Since the app was introduced a little more than a year ago, it has been used to issue threats of mass violence on more than a dozen college campuses, including the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University and Penn State. Racist, homophobic and misogynist “yaks” have generated controversy at many more, among them Clemson, Emory, Colgate and the University of Texas. At Kenyon College, a ‘yakker’ proposed a gang rape at the school’s women’s center.”
In May 2015, an outspoken feminist at the University of Mary Washington was killed. Months before, she and others complained of sexual harassment on Yik Yak and alleged that the university did nothing to curb the toxic environment of the app.
What Can Be Done?
“In cases involving threats of mass violence, Yik Yak has cooperated with authorities. Most recently, in November, local police traced the source of a yak — ’I’m gonna [gun emoji] the school at 12:15 p.m. today’ — to a dorm room at Michigan State University. The author, Matthew Mullen, a freshman, was arrested within two hours and pleaded guilty to making a false report or terrorist threat. He was spared jail time but sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to pay $800 to cover costs connected to the investigation”.
Back in March, Yik Yak tried to force users to add “handles” to their posts and although the handles don’t have to correspond to the users’ real name, caused a spike in one star reviews in the Apple App Store. Yik Yak removed the requirement in November and kept it as optional. Yik Yak’s philosophy in policing speech within the social network is actually more libertarian. The app’s creators believe in a more “democratic” approach to policing the network. Users are allowed to upvote or downvote a post. If a post receives 5 downvotes, it is automatically deleted. Yik Yak founder Tyler Droll said, “Really, what it comes down to is that we try to empower the communities as much as we can”. In addition, certain keywords are flagged automatically and prompt the user to confirm that they want to post the yak.
Yik Yak isn’t the only social network to come under fire for allowing offensive speech on their networks. Websites such as Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter have all been criticized for not policing hate speech effectively, particularly during a very contentious U.S. presidential election. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of pressure on social networks to strike a delicate balance between free speech and hateful speech. One could argue that although one person’s speech may be offensive, unless it’s inciting violence, it should be allowed. Although Yik Yak still has millions in the bank, time will tell if Yik Yak will regain its former glory.
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Using Live Video To Double Your Business
Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video, and Periscope – more than likely you would have heard of these social media platforms, but did you know they are the latest technological breakthroughs for users to incorporate into their business? These platforms allow you to connect powerfully and easily with your audience, which means as an entrepreneur, you are able to personalize your brand and business amongst targeted viewers.
Engaging with your audience is key to running a successful company. Gone are the days where you can just create a website, cross your fingers, and hope that people will find it and contact you for your products or services. We live in a new era, where billions of people are constantly connected to their smart phone. According to Facebook, there are 1.18 billion active users that visit their social network on a daily basis! So with the Live Video option, you are now able to literally interact in real time with your audience. Think what that can do for your business.
The first thing you may be asking yourself right now is, how can I reach more people without a large following? Well, the easiest and quickest way to build a responsive following is to become Keyword specific. This means that you are targeting people specifically interested in your niche and what you have to offer. It is better to have 100 followers that are engaged and interested in buying your product or service than 1,000 followers that take little to no action on your offers. One of the fundamental keys to your business growth is to create an organic following.
How to build a following organically
Content is king
The more value and content you post regularly on social media — the more followers you are going to gain. People want to learn, be entertained, and see valuable posts from you.
Assuming you’re doing this and you have a responsive following, now you are able to incorporate Live Video! Before you “go live” you must have a game plan on exactly what you will be talking about. Go in prepared or you’ll lose interest and engagement.
Keep in mind the attention span of the average person is extremely short, so you have one chance and one chance only. Make it count! Lucky for you, you don’t have to be on Live Video for too long to get your message across. A handy acronym to use is: K.I.S.S: Keep it short and simple! Your audience will love you for that, trust me!
Build a bond
Like anything worthwhile in life, the power of our bonds with others is what binds us together. Strip all the technology away and we are simply human beings creating connection and bonds, which create trust and trust creates fans and buyers. With your current audience, you must build a bond, in other words, a relationship with them. You can do this with live video. Have a conversation with your audience, while keeping them entertained. Ask questions, acknowledge your viewers, and deliver value that they can take away once you’re done.
Now that you’ve created a relationship with your audience ask them to spread the word by liking to share and comment. The more likes and shares you get, the further your reach gets. Now the way Facebook’s algorithm works is, with the more activity that is happening on your post or feed, they will make sure everyone can watch it and have the opportunity to engage. Whenever a user logs onto Facebook, they will see you first on their feed!
Create a contest
People love winning. Creating a giveaway or a contest that gives your users the chance to gain something by participating will spread your name and page around Facebook like wildfire. It’s scary how fast news will spread when done correctly. A word of caution: Make sure you set clear and concise rules to your contest to avoid unnecessary drama or miscommunication.
On your post, make sure to include a form. Here, you will gather the user’s information: name and email address. These two requirements are essential for you. You have not only gained new leads for your business, but your new leads have also done free advertising work for you and your business. By liking, sharing, and commenting on your post, they have now expanded your message to their following, giving them the opportunity to participate in the contest and spread the word even farther. There are a ton of ways you can grow your audience exponentially with a few cleverly executed strategies.
Live Video Doubling Your Business
Providing value and entertaining info on your product or service without sounding like a door salesman will take you a long way. At the end of each video, provide a call to action for your audience to participate in. An example of this could be, “Click the link in my bio to learn more.” Keep in mind that you do not have to provide a call to action in every video. Spamming your viewers will only backfire.
Another approach you can have is leaving a cliffhanger at the end of each video where your viewers will want to see your next Live Event. It leaves you with suspense, which ultimately makes you come back for more. That’s the effect you need to have on your audience.
Your call to action could be clicking a link that you’ve posted on your page, tagging a friend on your most recent post, and/or leaving a comment with their email on your post. The link that the user will be clicking should direct them to a landing page where you will be able to provide the user with value and an offer. That ties back into a sales funnel, where you can convert leads into buyers.
At the end of the day, Live Video allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. This form of communication will be help you convey your message more clearly as they watch you live. You will have a better connection with your viewers as you build a connection through emotions. Live video allows your audience to learn more about you, your business and what you’re selling. Make it exciting, provide value, develop creative call to actions for your audience and watch your business grow.
How To Start 2018 For Your Business
2018 is knocking, are you ready? The new year is upon us, some may be celebrating another successful year with champagne, where others may be contemplating on the next strategy to implement for their business. As you figure out which side of the coin you’re on, it’s best to understand the most effective approach you should take to make sure 2018 is not only better than 2016, but your best year yet.
Go Back To Basics in Business
To have a successful year, it starts with the basics. You need feel secure and confident that the foundation you have set, will help you excel in the new year. Having that confidence in your system, finances, and administrative work, will allow you the peace of mind to continue moving the needle forward in business.
If entrepreneurship is in the cards for 2018 (or you’re already an entrepreneur/business professional), then this is the time to look at the preparatory checklist and assess exactly where one stands. Here is how to start 2018 , the right way.
Have the Right Mindset Day One
Forget all of the negativity that happened in 2016. It’s a new year and a completely new slate.
Review Your Financials
Check up on the left over cushion money, but more importantly look at your bank statements or end of year review. If you’re not already working with your accountant, be sure to give that individual a call to review what happened this year. To hit 2018 in stride, it’s critical to have your personal and business finances in check.
Check Up On Your Business Plan
A proper business plan has to be a blueprint to how you conduct and want to conduct business. Take the time to revise your business plan add or subtract items on that plan you feel do not make sense. Being diligent now will save a lot of unnecessary hassles later as you continue to expand/grow your company.
Select Your Team Members Wisely
Coming from experience, finding the proper talent to work for you is the hardest part of business. Before making new hires, be sure you take the time to assess your teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Then hire those to fill the voids. Reviewing your business plan will be a tremendous help when making these evaluations. If you hire right in 2018, you are already on your way to success in 2018!
Assess Your Risks
Finally, check on your insurance coverage. Review the existing risks and think about the new risks planned for 2018. A new home, a new car, addition of new properties, launching a new sector of your business, starting a new family, planning retirement – carefully plan and cover the risks with the adequate insurance. Consult with the experts to ensure the protection of your family, property and business.
As important as your business is, it’s equally important to get your mind right. Here are a few ways you can personally grow in 2018:
Prioritize Your Health
Sustaining a wellness plan for all 12 months of 2018 is tough, but rewarding. Do not let minor issues like back pain or soreness to affect your plan. Write down your goals for daily exercise and schedule an annual medical checkup. A healthy body works like a magnifying glass for the joys of life – zooming in on the positives and zooming out when negatives occur. Don’t get distracted and be sure to get your health corrected this year.
Declutter and Organize
Look through the space in your house, office, car, backyard and even phone and email inboxes. Clean up all the junk, sort the remaining in order. The time and effort put in to declutter and organize the stuff now will give a huge advantage on the upcoming year’s activities. Start it off with a fresh plate.
Don’t spend all of your time working in 2018. Try to relax more by doing things you find fun. Participate in social and cultural events that will expand your current limits. Make time to read books (both for business and pleasure), watch movies, or cater to a hobby. Plan ahead and make a wish list to cultivate some of the classics this year. If budget permits, go for a new wardrobe (maybe at least partially new) to start the year with a special zing!
Plan for trips outside the scope of business in 2018. Go with friends and family or make it a solitary trip. But do visit a new place, experience a new cuisine, meet new people, even try to pick up a new language from the locals when traveling. Going on a relaxing trip is one of the best modes of investing in yourself. Plan to make some memories and memoirs on the trip(s).
Make Time for Family and Friends
Finally, catch up with friends, attend family get together events, meet up with cousins, and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries! Don’t get too occupied with work, career and the future ahead. Enjoy the present with the people you love. Family and friendships are not replaceable assets in one’s life – value them most and 2018 will be a great year!
Have a great 2018!
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