BY JENNA MORRIS
College students spend a large part of their days on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest. Developers have created Yik Yak, a new social network that is becoming widely popular within college campuses, nationwide. Yik Yak acts as a local bulletin feed that shows posts based on your location being tracked from your phone. Because users are anonymous, they can post statuses without fear of judgment or consequences. “Similar to how Facebook uses a “like” button, Yik Yak uses up-votes and down-votes for users to agree or disagree with original posts. Users are able to comment or reply to an original post as well.” Not only can users see what is going on at their schools, but they can also “peek” at other universities’ ‘yaks’ too.
At McKendree, Yik Yak has had its ups and downs. Even though many people “yak” about their classes or crushes, the application has caused much controversy among students who post “yaks” about wanting to cuddle with someone in room XXX. In some cases, people actually reply to “cuddling” and “sex” posts, and sometimes, they would show up, hoping the original poster would follow through. Pranks have been played on people. For example, users on Yik Yak may tell other users to come to their rooms, and people show up, but these visitors are not who they said they were. McKendree, so far, does not have too many problems with Yik Yak when compared to other, larger universities such as the University of Southern Mississippi and Norwich University.
There have been many reports of threats found on Yik Yak that have turned into campus investigations. According to an article in the Hattiesburg American, the University of Southern Mississippi has gone through two investigations regarding anonymous threats on Yik Yak; so far, they have made at least one arrest. Although many of the threatening comments on Yik Yak are ruled as hoaxes, public safety officials still feel the need to investigate these threats in order to make sure students are safe.. Also, as stated in the Huffington Post, Norwich University in Vermont has blocked all student access to Yik Yak because of anonymous threats and cyber bullying..
According to the Huffington Post, Norwich University’s president, Dr. Richard W. Schneider said, “I just know [Yik Yak] is hurting my students right now”.
Lexie Shoemaker, a senior at McKendree, believed Yik Yak isn’t a good thing for our campus because it causes conflict among the students: “Every time I look at Yik Yak, there is always somebody causing a fight. Sometimes, people complain about posts, and other times, people give other users negative replies because they can hide behind anonymity and get away with it.”
Kendall Butler, a junior, had somewhat of a different opinion: “I think Yik Yak can be very comical, but it comes at the user’s expense. “Students have to be smart about what they post and not use it as a way to target other students.”
Yik Yak is becoming more and more popular on our campus, and it is only a matter of time before someone abuses it and ruins the fun for everyone. The question is, will the administration take action and start monitoring what is being said on Yik Yak? Will this new technology become a bigger problem at McKendree like other universities? How would Yik Yak be addressed on campus if it goes out of hand?
If you have an opinion on Yik Yak, feel free to write a comment below or answer the poll question.