Understanding Yik Yak: Location-based sociability and the communication of place


  • Jordan Frith University of North Texas
  • Michael Saker Southampton Solent University




locative medial, anonymity, social media, mobile phones


Yik Yak was a location-based social application that allowed users to anonymously create, read, and respond to posts made within a few mile radius. This paper reports on six months of ethnographic work and interviews performed with 18 Yik Yak users. We argue that one of Yik Yak’s primary functions was to communicate about place and to find new ways to connect abstractly with the local social situation. The data detailed in this article contributes to the growing literature on the spatial and social impacts of locative media.

Author Biographies

Jordan Frith, University of North Texas

Assistant professor in the department of technical communication at the University of North Texas.

Michael Saker, Southampton Solent University

Senior Lecturer in Broadcasting and Digital Creative Industries at Southampton Solent University, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.




How to Cite

Frith, J., & Saker, M. (2017). Understanding Yik Yak: Location-based sociability and the communication of place. First Monday, 22(10). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i10.7442