Whoot is a Yik Yak clone that anonymously connects users to their local communities. It was built using Xcode, Swift and Firebase over the course of 6 weeks as a group project for our iOS Programming class with a team of 6 students.
- Anonymously share posts with your local community
- Upvote, downvote and comment on your favorite posts
- Create an account to save your data, earn badges, and more
The most evident challenge for all of us was familiarizing ourselves with Swift and Firebase. Having recently learned Swift starting in August 2019, most of us were unfamiliar with the language its libraries and best coding practices. Firebase was even more challenging, as we had decided to learn on the fly during development. This being said, we heavily utilized each other to discuss our issues, solve problems and share helpful resources.
A minor issue that we encountered was working to meet our own milestones as a team given our time constraints. Early into the development process, we decided we wanted to turn the application into a fusion of Yik Yak and Reddit, making it stand out more than a simple remake. As development continued, we pushed these features aside and labeled them as “stretch goals” as we knocked out more essential functionality.
Discussing Yik Yak
College students loved Yik Yak (myself included). We could interact with fellow students anonymously without the fear of being mocked or ridiculed for sharing our thoughts. When Yik Yak shut down, users scrambled for alternatives to fill the void. But Yik Yak, at its core, was a flawed attempt at an anonymous social network that could not possibly have lasted in the long run.
Everyone had full anonymity with zero consequences, inevitably leading to rampant cyberbullying. And when external pressure forced them to give up anonymity in favor of usernames, Yik Yak lost its edge. The problem here? Failure to innovate.
A Better Social Network
In general, social networks introduce a plethora of problems: lack of privacy, rampant cyberbullying, chasing “likes” and validation from strangers, mob mentality and a lack of community. Whoot would attempt to address these problems and provide users with more fine-grained control over their online identity.
Whoot’s merit system would allow uers to take control of their online identity like never before. Users who consistently exhibit good behavior in their communities can unlock higher, fine-grained control of their anonymity through a system of positive-reinforcement.
Facebook Groups lets users create groups to discuss topics they’re interested in. Users can start a local chess club in their hometown or create a global group for discussing their favorite music genre. It’s essentially all or nothing in terms of the location of people they’re interacting with. Whoot would allow users to create one community for a topic and explore posts in that group at local, state, national, or global levels.
One of the biggest issues facing social networks today are mob mentality and users’ constant need for validation. With Whoot, users would be able to toggle likes and dislikes on their posts or hide them until people have had a chance to vote, or just hide them entirely in favor of having a conversation in the comment section.
Whoot’s development is not over yet. Follow me on Twitter for updates and details on what’s to come!