A few weeks ago, I talked about Yik Yak in relation to cyberbullying in schools. More recently, I read an article about how the app is now being used to gain insight into the approval ratings of political candidates, specifically among the millennial population. Yik Yak’s user base falls between the ages of 18-34. Through Yik Yak, users have the ability to post anonymously, and vote or downvote other posts that have been made within a certain mile radius of their current location. Additionally, the app has a feature called Global Herds, where users can participate in conversations happening around the world, as well as vote in polls pertaining to a variety of topics.
Lately, Yik Yak has been a rather political space, and the app’s users are not afraid to share their true feelings about the presidential candidates. Millennials have been particularly engaged in this election cycle, and after the Democratic debate last week, those using Yik Yak gave Hillary Clinton a 4.6% approval rating, her lowest yet. Bernie Sanders, however, received an approval rating of 56.9%. These results mirror larger opinion polls that indicate young people are not in support of the front-runners in either party. Based on the information available from Yik Yak, it can also be noted that users tuned in the most to debate topics such as foreign policy, the economy, and the Republican party.
Arguably, one of Clinton’s biggest hurdles to overcome throughout this primary season has been her inability to connect with younger voters. It will be interesting to see if her campaign can find a way to leverage information from not just larger opinion polls, but also social media, in order to reevaluate and come back stronger. Clinton recently stated that she aims to carry on President Obama’s legacy. However, when it comes to gaining support from young voters, she has not been able to find the same social media success or establish a presence similar to that of our current president.
Sanders continues to benefit from his connection with millennials, and while he embraces the positive social media energy, he attributes most of that success to his outreach: “I’ll tell you my experience with young people … I see them every day because they’re coming out to our rallies. These are young people who want to be involved in shaping the future of this country.” I can’t wait to see how social media continues to inform this election cycle, as well as how candidates utilize it to spread their respective platforms!