“Cut the yik-yak ’n and get in the house!” This was just one of the many phrases my grandmother would use before using a sterner, hands-on means of communication, if you know what I mean. Looking closer at social media today, my grandmother isn’t the only one putting the term “yik yak” to use. After being launched in 2013, the media smartphone application, Yik Yak, has been ranked as the ninth most downloaded app in the United States.
The app Yik Yak allows one to anonymously converse and create threads within a particular radius of your location. It also allows all users to write, respond, and “vote up” or “vote down” certain “yaks” posted. The Huffington Post described the app as, “a bathroom stall without toilets, they’re useless.”
Like all social media, it has its pros and con’s. One positive aspect of the app is that researchers use it to explore racial, ethical, and sexual identity issues, with hopes of building a sense of community at institutions. While the positives of Yik Yak are minimal, the negative aspects of this social app are continuously making a strong presence in educational institutions nation wide. With cyberbullying on the rise, many schools have banned the use of the app. This app is also the cause of many high schools forbidding the use of cell phones on campus.
After hearing the speculation, I had to check out the app for myself. Surprisingly, Wilson has a good amount of people that are actively using Yik Yak. From my short personal experience on this app, I noticed that there were generally three types of people that were using the app. The first type I noticed, were people who complained about everything. Complaining about the food in the dining hall to the ingrown toe nail that is slowly getting infected. The second type of people I noticed were people who don’t fully take the time to think about what they are saying before yaking. One post I saw was someone asking the proper way to clean out their bellybutton. What intrigued me was the amount of positive votes it got.
The third type I noticed included people who just wanted to “have fun.” For example, one post I saw simply said, “I wish there was something fun to do in Chambersburg.” This also got positive votes. Now, tiptoeing back to the fact that in the midst of these posts, cyberbullying is forever a concern, it is sometimes hard to truly sensor what goes on this app. For the same amount of people “voting up,” there were people “voting down.” These disagreements can get out of hand because of the anonymous aspect of the app. This is where cyberbullying comes in.
In light of the rising issues nationwide because of this app, here at Wilson we take any form of bullying seriously. Overall, we should be mindful of how we pick and use our apps. After all, grandma isn’t always there to give you that “hands on” guidance.