Under the description of the Yik Yak app it states “Yik Yak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them. News, funny experiences, shout-outs, and jokes spread faster than ever through Yik Yak’s tight-knit community. Create quality content and receive upvotes from other members of your community. Be engaged in your community and help decide what’s the best through upvotes and downvotes.”
So why are college students using it as a source to trash each other and be sexually inappropriate? After exploring this app for a few days I have yet to see people post friendly things or positive encouragement. In fact, I saw multiple posts calling students and faculty out, and others on alcohol and drug abuse. To further the outrage, people were using Yik Yak to hook up with other people. This anonymous bulletin board gives users a sense of confidence and conceit that they would not have if it wasn’t anonymous. On the Facebook college group chats, students can be friendly and hospitable as long as their name is bolded with their photo, but as soon as that is taken away, we discover who they really are.
This brings up the issue of trust and if one should be the same person even if no one is watching. I was not aware of this app until my roommate told me about it. She thought I knew about it and she even thought I had posted something about her sleeping habits. People will soon begin to give others the side-eye and not trust others if people are blasting out personal information on the app. In just seconds of refreshing it, I saw a post including a homophobic slur, detailing a student’s outfit. What if that student refreshed the app at the same time and realized he was being gossiped about? This kind of anonymous trashing burns relationships and causes psychological trauma. Calling someone names and telling everyone what a certain person did last Friday night hurts reputations and hurts other’s feelings.
I understand that people want a place where they can let off steam and express themselves, but just think about the pain you can be placing on someone before you press “done,” I am not against the Yik Yak app, and occasionally I do see some funny posts about an awkward experience someone had or how they feel toward a certain topic. I even post on the Yik Yak app about my weird moments with others but degrading others for the pure enjoyment is inexcusable and I hope one day, as a community, we stop humiliating each other and realize Yik Yak is truly whack.