What's All the Yak About?

By Billie Kanfer Yik Yak's cartoon logo

       A new app called Yik Yak is currently taking our college—and many others—by storm. For those who are unaware, Yik Yak is the anonymous equivalent of Twitter, for people in your area. Let’s say you’re feeling witty or feeling like saying what’s on your mind but don’t want to put a “name” or “handle” to it, Yik Yak is your go-to place. You can post whatever you like as long as it’s 140 characters or less. 

       Yik Yak appears to be a combination of Whisper (anonymous secret-sharing app) and Twitter, and it is quickly becoming an extremely popular app within our campus and others alike. Yik Yak prides itself on allowing students and people in general to get a live feed of what is happening/being said around them. On their website, many screenshots of the app feature witty comments, general questions about meet-ups, and other various statements that can range from comical to cynical or downright sassy. 

       Another aspect of Yik Yak is that the public can control whether or not a “yak” can rise to fame or fall into a black hole. As a “yakker” you can press up or down and decide the fate of the “yak.”A user can up-vote or down-vote a singular yak based on whether they find it funny or relatable.. The more up-votes a yak receives, the more visible it becomes to users. Unlike Twitter, these “likes” can also decrease and spiral into the negatives. Finally, Yik Yak has the option to “peek” at what other colleges, areas, or events are “yakking” about.

       At first, Yik Yak seemed like a waste of time, and I’ve even encountered some who are hesitant about joining the movement yet give in after they realize that their witty comments can be heard without paying a price of identifying themselves with it.

       Unfortunately, Yik Yak has been causing some problems among campuses including our own. Many harmful and inappropriate comments have been made via Yik Yak that are causing controversy and leading some to believe that Yik Yak is another outlet for cyber bullying. On their website, Yik Yak states that “Yaks should not join the herd until they are mature enough, so no one under college age should be on Yik Yak.” On Skidmore’s campus there have been several incidents so far including one student having to file a bias incident report. Another problem has included a sports team on campus in which their coach has banned the use of Yik Yak due to comments made that were inappropriate.  

       In all, Yik Yak is being used by an incredible amount of students across campuses and students at other institutions have said that they feel the posts are harmless and meant to be fun. Yik Yak provides students to voice their thoughts even if they happen to be the quietest person on campus. You can be whoever you want on Yik Yak with the comfort of posting anonymously behind the screen of your smartphone. 

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