Yik Yak’s status remains as ambiguous as its users

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket, Date: November 20, 2014

The Rocket staff can’t decide if we love the app or hate it. However, we all agree on one thing: Yik Yak is wack. 

Aside from the Fade app, we haven’t really seen anything like Yik Yak creeping into our social media and invading our time and attention. Though similar to Twitter in terms of status updates, it is in fact, much different, and reviews on it seem to be much more negative. 

Given anonymity, students feel free to post whatever is on their mind, no-holds-barred. And, instead of being limited to just their friends, everyone within a 1.5-mile radius can view, comment and vote upon their “yaks.” Incidentally, at Slippery Rock, many of the Yaks are seeking cuddle buddies, whining about the weather, mocking the Homecoming king’s physique and freshmen frantically wondering who the best professor is for interpreting literature.

Is this a good thing? The “Rules & Info” section of the app reads, “Herds of yaks are strongest when they work together and watch each other’s backs.”  There are several ways in which we can see the campus coming together as a community on this app. If you’re interested what soup is being served at Boozel, you can yak and know the answer almost instantly. If you’re feeling depressed at 2 a.m. and yak about it, and you’ll most likely be flooded with responses telling you to keep your head up. If you’re awkward and need dating advice, ask and you shall receive. And, in the event of breaking news, such as a car accident, spontaneous marriage proposal in the quad or parties being busted, the entire student body will be yakking about it within minutes.

But what about those who try to disrupt the herd? Though a yak will be removed if it receives five down-votes or is reported, any yak that is posted will be on the page until that happens. So, in instances of bullying, a yak might be visible for several minutes before it is taken down, potentially reaching hundreds of views in that time frame. Since it is anonymous, it is impossible to identify the bullies spreading rumors. 

Another aspect of the app that some staffers find annoying is when the entire homepage is filled with yaks whining about lecture hall classes. Sure this is humorous for the students who are in the classes, but for everyone not in Intro to Dance, scrolling through inside jokes and complaints only members of the class would understand is not too amusing. During the hours that these classes are usually in session, the app seems flooded with these sorts of posts, thus turning many upperclassmen and other outsiders away from using it, especially during those times. 

So does the feeling of success after getting 20+ up-votes compensate for the feeling of shame when your yak is removed within minutes? Is it worth scrolling through the nonsense to get to the interesting stuff? Is it worth the risk of cyber-bullying and ruined reputations? Do the positives of the app outweigh the negatives? The Rocket Staff suggests you download the app and decide for yourself, since everyone seems to have mixed opinions about it. It might become your new addiction, or you might just delete it instantly after learning all about how terribly dreadful geology class is that day. Either way, it’s worth your while to check out what all the buzz is about. Who knows, you might just find your new cuddle buddy.


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