Every college student has taken a class that they aren’t too keen on. We have all camped out in four-hour lectures and felt as if pausing time couldn’t make the clock go any slower. Yik Yak is a new college-oriented app that may help students pass time, and also gives them an outlet to share their daily triumphs and tribulations.
The point of the app is to give users an anonymous way to post tips, jokes, or anything that they can fit in 200 characters or less. Anyone scrolling through the app can rate posts up or down. Each post has a number next to it based on how many rates up or down it has received. Yaks can be viewed by most recent or most popular, and there is even a “peek” feature that allows users to view Yaks from campuses around the country.
Since the anonymous message board is based on location, when sitting in class at College of DuPage, the Yaks that users will scroll through are all within a close distance to campus. This keeps posts relevant to what is new on campus, or what other student’s are doing. In short, Yik Yak is basically an anonymous form of Twitter in which you can only see what people near you post.
Because of the anonymous feature of the app, I assumed that I would see some controversial things when I downloaded it. I’m sure most younger COD students remember the days of Formspring.com, and more recently, Askfm.com, where anonymous questions could be directed at specific users. The drama that went hand in hand with those sites is pretty much what I expected when getting a Yik Yak. The difference is, nothing is directed at a specific person. The closest it gets to that is someone posting anything along the lines of “hey that the girl in the pink sweater near campus central is cute and they hope she sees the post.” General comments are made about the school, certain classes or groups of people. That is where the lines get blurry.
At COD, Yik Yak is entertaining. There are some really hilarious posts, and I can tell you first hand, it makes getting through a longer class a little more bearable. As with any social media site, certain topics can come up that are offensive to some users. This is mostly based on language and adult content. Of course you’ll pass by a handful of these, but the beauty of it is if you are truly bothered you can rate down the post or even report the anonymous user. COD also seems to have a few users set on making judgmental posts based on race. Usually, these posts are rated down and other users will confront them. If COD’s Yik Yak has a problem that needs to be addressed, I think that would be it.
At big universities around the country, Yik Yak is huge. At a big school there is always so much going on. It would serve as a great way to advertise events, or let others know what is going on in every corner of a giant campus. Ratings for Yik Yak are beginning to decrease based on these universities’ uses for the app. It has become a weapon in Greek life to slut-shame women by name and call out sororities and fraternities for being less important than others. Although it could be used as so much more, it is becoming an easy way to bully others.
Luckily, COD does not have this problem. I have yet to see someone called out by name. Posts like “To the black jeep, you parked like a wild wildebeest and I scratched your car,” are much more common. Yik Yak here can be a fun outlet to complain about schoolwork and share jokes if the users remember that everyone has had a few bad park jobs in their years here. Our community needs to stop calling out other people based on looks and stereotypes and focus on what makes us a school together. If you can look past the few judgmental posts, Yik Yak can be a great way to make you laugh while trying to get through class after class.