If you aren't already familiar, Yik Yak is a social media service that operates more like the graffiti on a bathroom stall than a traditional social media site like Facebook. The service's three major selling points are:
- It's completely anonymous.
- You're communicating with everyone within a 10-mile radius of you.
- It's democratic: everyone can vote on the postings.
The service has seen its fair share of controversy due to high-school students using it for bullying, but Yik-Yak has since blocked the app around most high schools in the United States.
I became interested in the service because it's fun to look at -- you're seeing completely anonymous posts from everyone around your college/university, and this anonymity leads people to be honest about things that they'd prefer to not attach their name to. The voting aspect adds an interesting dynamic to the service, because you're seeing things that the anonymous general population finds interesting.
I find that it has the effect of allowing people to share raw emotions, and other people to viscerally, binarily, agree or disagree with them. The author has the ability to write these words -- to convey an emotion -- and like in real life, there will be some that people respond to, and others that get ignored.
This unique dynamic made me wonder how college students at different colleges speak. What do MIT and Harvard students really have to say? And how does a big state school compare? What about community college?
I made a Python program to gather a bunch of data at different colleges -- I recorded the top posts at a bunch of different colleges: when they were posted, how many people liked them, and the content of the messages.
I collected a bunch of data, and I have to go through it all. I'll let you know when I learn more.