Yik Yak: Aussie Yaks vs Yankee Yakkers

Yik Yak, is an anonymous location based social media platform akin to twitter in many aspects. In Recent years it has become extremely popular in American campus, and even more recently, in Australian Universities.

By hiding users identities, the app encourages free and open speech and allows users to see who’s ‘Yaking’ around them in a 2.4 km radius. Posts are up to 200 characters long and are moderated by up votes and down votes.

However, in the United States, the freedom and openness has lead to several controversies. The app has been linked to multiple cases of bulling, slanderous gossip, sexual harassment and even in one case; terrorist threats. So that the bulling and harassment could not continue, high schools across America had the app Geo-Fenced so that it could not be used by it’s students.

These stories of reports however have only been coming out of the United States. Yik Yak in Australia has yet to prove itself. Whether it’s more progressed than “college immaturity” or it’s at par for the course.

This is the basis for my research project, my aim is to uncover the difference in Australian Yaks and Yakkers to find out why something that has cause so much controversy in America, hasn’t lifted an eyebrow in Australia.

Do Australian Yakkers just have a different etiquette when it comes to anonymous free speech? Or is it perhaps that Australia has the same issues with bulling, harassment but its simply now covered in the media?

To begin to unpack this issue, I intend to identify those who regularly use Yik Yak on the University of Wollongong campus’ by using questionnaires to collect information and opinions regarding the use of the application in Australia. I want to identify how the limitations and affordances of Yik Yak change how people interact with it. The questionnaire will address anonymity, vulgarity and the use of location based views.

Besides this, I will be monitoring the local Yaks each day to identify the range of behavior that is deemed acceptable on the UOW campus.

Very little has been published about Yik Yak in Australian campus’. This research project aims to give the Australian users an identity despite the anonymity. I hope to fairly represent the Yakkers of UOW and analyses the disparity (Or similarity) between them and the reports from the United states.



Daily Mail. 2014. Anonymous ‘gossip app’ Yik Yak blamed for cyberbullying outbreak in schools as firm behind it forced to BAN it from being opened on school grounds k. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2615231/Anoynmous-app-Yik-Yak-blamed-bullying-schools-amid-calls-firm-trying-way-ban-children-using-it.html. [Accessed 25 March 16].

GIZMODO. 2014. Yik Yak Wants To Be More Than Your Kid’s Favourite Shit-Talking App. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/10/yik-yak-wants-to-be-more-than-your-kids-favourite-shit-talking-app/. [Accessed 25 March 16].

The guardian. 2014. Yik Yak: the anonymous app taking US college campuses by storm. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/21/yik-yak-anonymous-app-college-campus-whisper-secret. [Accessed 24 March 16].

Institute for Culture and Society – University of Western Sydney.. 2016. Yik Yak, Young People – and You!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uws.edu.au/ics/news_and_media/blog/yik_yak,_young_people_and_you!. [Accessed 25 March 16].

The Sydney Morning Herald. 2015. Yik Yak: Anonymous apps unleash the dark side of free speech on campuses. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/yik-yak-anonymous-apps-unleash-the-dark-side-of-free-speech-on-campuses-20150528-ghbi5u.html. [Accessed 24 March 16].


International Education: Why we’re failing.

Australia has been a bright hope for international students. A wealthy and safe country for students from nations across the world.

Australia sit’s among the top 15 best educational systems in the world today, which is of huge appeal to young foreigners, who are looking for work, education and money.download

Despite this, there have been growing concerns for international students as to just how safe it is in Australia.

In 2009 there were 120,913 Indian students enrolled for qualifications in Australia. 1447 of these students were victims of crime, including assaults and robberies.

This made significant waves in the media during the time.

Click for full story

In Australia, there is no support system for international students in situations as bad as these. A similar case has occurred recently with a dispute with a 7/11 employer who withheld $21,298 for a foreign worker.

This has been ascribed to Australian’s sense of ethnocentrism. Our belief that our culture is superior to foreign cultures has been blamed for the attack of Manrajawinder Singh and the unjust pay of 7/11 employees.

However, despite the attitudes of some Australian’s the Center of research for Social Inclusion found that foreign students ” interested in getting to know ‘Australians’ and curious about their lives.” (Kell & Vogl, 2006, p6). Despite this, international students felt that Australians didn’t want to get to know them.

A 10 page cover story form the Indian magazine Outlook, titled “Why the Aussies hate us.” did tremendous damage to Australia’s reputation. 1264974337523

The outrage expressed in India was directed at the Australian government for not taking the motive to the attacks seriously. “smug and superior attitude of the Australian Government for denying there was racism and then telling Indians not to hype this up” (Mehta,2010) The rest of the article looking at this magazine can be found here.

This comment and the articles are highlighting our ethnocentrism. And this is not helping Australia’s image in the global world. Australian universities other educational institutions  pull in a large portion of international students which grow our labor force and raise the skills of citizens or people attaining citizenship. However, safety and security as well as the exploitation in housing and employment.

This is a problem Australia is still facing. In the International Media and Communcations  tutorial the class discussed a few idea about the situations. It’s clear that this debate will continue for a while to come. At it’s core it’s about our countries view of itself and how well we welcome outsiders. Racism is a pressing issue for Australians and sorting out our differences is going to make a difference on a global scale.



World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science? | News | The Guardian. 2015. World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science? | News | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading. [Accessed 02 September 2015].

Indian Magazine Reports On Australian ‘Hate’. 2015. Indian Magazine Reports On Australian ‘Hate’. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.smh.com.au/national/indian-journal-focuses-on-hate-20100131-n6ju.html. [Accessed 02 September 2015].

Peter, Gillian, K,V, 2006. International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes . Center for research on social inclussion, [Online]. -, 6. Available at:https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/455993/mod_resource/content/1/Week%203_Kell%20and%20Vogl.pdf[Accessed 01 September 2015].

Court action after alleged underpayment of overseas worker at 7-Eleven in Brisbane – Media releases – Fair Work Ombudsman . 2015. Court action after alleged underpayment of overseas worker at 7-Eleven in Brisbane – Media releases – Fair Work Ombudsman . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/news-and-media-releases/2015-media-releases/february-2015/20150209-haider-litigation. [Accessed 04 September 2015].