- Internet & the Web
Yik Yak - Anonymous Social Media
What is Yik Yak?
Before I start talking about Yik Yak, any of you who are not in college most likely do not know what it is so I will go ahead and give a brief explanation. Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app where people can view "Yaks" that people have posted within a 1.5 mile radius. There is no sign up required so there is no way that the people at Yik Yak can gain any information about you. This local aspect of the app makes it ideal for college students and highly populated cities. When you post a yak, people can either up vote it or down vote it, depending on whether or not they like it. Yaks are listed in chronological order, and recent yaks with the most up votes are listed under "hot" Yaks. Obviously, most users' goal is to get lots of ups on their yaks so they post funny or relatable things. Every time you Yak, up a Yak, or get ups on your Yak, your "Yakarma" score goes up. You can also view yaks from other schools or view the all time highest up voted yaks, as well as other sub categories like "Dating Tips" or peaks for specific sporting events. Overall, Yik Yak is basically an anonymous twitter made mainly for college students.
Since the start of Yik Yak, there has been quite a bit of controversy over whether or not parents should support their children using it, or even if it should be allowed at universities. There have even been high schools that have banned the app because of cyber bullying. The staff at Yik Yak has done its best to counteract these efforts by creating a requirement that users be 17 years of age or older (although this can be bypassed by lying, which is not something that the staff can control). They also have employees that browse yaks to check for abuse, as well as causing yaks with 5 down votes to be deleted. The thing that these schools need to realize is that banning Yik Yak will not end cyber bullying. If kids are going to bully someone, they will find some other way to do it.
Banned Grade School Use
Why Yik Yak is Amazing
While there will almost always be downsides to any new invention, we have to make sure we focus more on the upside. As a college student, I think Yik Yak is amazing, and it has an overall positive impact at my university. I have seen it as a source of encouragement for so many people. Any time a person posts good news, they can be sure to find encouragement from other Yakkers. Whether it is news that they are cancer for or just got engaged, I have seen that people on Yik Yak love to encourage each other.
Not only is Yik Yak a great source of encouragement, IT IS HILARIOUS. Any time you want to read something funny, you are almost guaranteed to find something among the hot yaks. For people like myself (who think they are funny), Yik Yak gives an opportunity to make others laugh. I am on Yik Yak all the time (in fact, probably too much) and it is something that I never get bored of.
Yik Yak erases so many barriers that would normally be there if it were not anonymous. Networks like Twitter and Facebook allow users to receive recognition if they are famous, rich, good looking, etc. Yik Yak allows introverts and people who would usually been seen at outcasts to be accepted by their peers, even if it is not on a real life level. Rather than being accepted to outside factors, people are accepted solely because of what they have to say. It gives people confidence that they would not normally have around a group of people. While this does have a downside of giving people the boldness to be rude about things, almost always the good on Yik Yak outweighs the bad.