Yik Yak, Twitter's darker, more anonymous twin
Social media plays a major role in the lives of our generation. It seems that everyone today owns a smartphone and spends a good portion of their day focused on the device and all it has to offer.
So far this spring semester we have encountered the woes of Flappy Bird and are now presently obsessing over Yik Yak. This hot new app is designed to allow people within a certain area to post anonymous messages for others in the same area to read.
Yik Yak proves to be very popular among colleges, and UMW falls among those who frequently use its services. Questions, jokes, thoughts and observations, etc. are commonly posted topics, many of which are cause for a laugh.
Examples of some recent UMW posts on Yik Yak include:
“If it keeps raining like this I might be able to swim back to my family and not be beached anymore.”
“Do guys like girls with make up or no make up on better?”
“Overheard on campus walk: ‘this is my HOME. I don’t have to wear pants if I don’t want to!!’ Girl preach.”
“Shouts out to Seaco for allowing me to eat ice cream for breakfast”
“Middle of western civ and I noticed my shirts inside out. Too embarrassed…”
“*Stares at homework for 30 minutes* *opens Netflix as reward*”
Yik Yak also allows people to comment, like or dislike posts, all of which also remains anonymous.
While Yik Yak’s intentions seem innocent and can be humorous at times, the anonymity aspect of the posts have allowed students to post hateful and disrespectful comments about fellow UMW students.
Many comments posted from this area inspire rumors and negativity toward others, particularly after the weekends. For example, the UMW baseball team was a major topic this past weekend and were targeted for losing their game.
While media outlets such as Yik Yak can be great ways to anonymously communicate thoughts and ideas among others, anonymity gives people courage they otherwise lack to spew negativity onto others.
Yik Yak knew that this would be a possibility among users and therefore created a button that users can push to report offensive material and have that post quickly removed.
A few years ago, a website similar to this app proved very popular among college students: collegeacb.com. However, due to the constant stream of posts filled with nasty rumors and profanity, the creators decided to shut it down. If people are not careful with the negativity they spread, it is possible that Yik Yak may in the future choose to do the same.