Yik Yak: Poisoned Water Hole?


Most students on the ABAC campus have probably heard of “Yik Yak.” For those who don’t know, Yik Yak is an app where people within a five-mile radius can post anonymous messages. The only way that they’re identified is with an emoji that they can change at any time.

The very first time I had heard of Yik Yak was when my friend mentioned something peculiar that he found on the app. I had no idea what a “Yik Yak” was. After that, I had realized that Yik Yak was a popular app among my fellow students, and that’s when I jumped on the bandwagon.

When I first installed Yik Yak, surprisingly: my expectations were met. In the year 2022, when current entertainment comes from YouTubers pranking each other and TikTokers consider flailing their arms as a dance, my expectations couldn’t be any lower.

Two months later, and even with the new direct messaging system: Yik Yak is not the good, the bad, or the ugly. To many, if they were given the choice to choose any of the three aforementioned attributes, they most likely would have said “bad.” As for the other two: claiming it as good would prove someone enjoys the loose structure of this application and claiming it as ugly means someone jumped to the conclusion that Yik Yak is something to avoid altogether, no matter the interests.

 However, Yik Yak also seems like an app that’s for college students. The app contains and displays that college stereotypes are definitely still existent- party animals and bookworms to name a few. You can have Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat anywhere, but there’s no better place for Yik Yak than a college campus.

Bigotry regarding certain subjects will hit you in the face as soon as you’re done setting the app up. Telling people that they can post anything anonymously will definitely cause mischief. 

When you first load Yik Yak, the top and most recent message will be appalling, and the childishness goes even further, the more you scroll down. In the span of a day, half-a-dozen people can be insulted on Yik Yak. Even ABAC’s police aren’t safe from slander. If a professor happens to teach at a different pace than someone is comfortable with, you can bet that they will be mentioned. Creepy comments that contain descriptions of people and then a description of their attraction to them pop up practically everyday.

Yik Yak does in fact have a filtering system, but it can’t go deep enough to combat everything. It only filters out profanity, sexual content, or other mature subjects only if they were said without any intentional typos or characters to bypass the filter. All users can do is try to get offensive “yaks” it taken down with five downvotes, or by reporting them.

This all sounds horrible, but Yik Yak is not entirely bad. This wouldn’t be anyone’s first choice for a primary social media at any day of the week, but at times, it’s not unbearable.

Sometimes, there’s nice people. If you’ve had Yik Yak and have used it since the beginning of the semester, you may remember posts regarding a person called “The ABAC Complementarian.” This unsung hero gave compliments to people they see on campus.

Some jokes that are made on Yik Yak are laughably funny, whether it be quips that are reminiscent of sarcasm from House M.D., or South Park-style comments of random immature humor. Imagine waking up and seeing “GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!” every morning when you check Yik Yak.

Last but not least, Yik Yak has been helpful at times. It is an app for ABAC students that piques interest. Some students find out about things through Yik Yak first. People found out about things like Lakeside’s water situation, a pajama and cookies party in the lobby of Lakeside, and this next one will shock you: Hurricane Ian.

Other times, a smorgasbord of other helpful things have appeared. Someone set up a mini-tattoo business at Lakeside, and from all of the feedback, it seems they’ve mastered their art. In case your room is untidy, a series of posts were made on Yik Yak regarding when and wherever room checks were being carried out. For those in need of school supplies, it’s definite someone will respond with helpful intent. Someone was even trying to sell an Xbox charging block in the event that someone was in need of one. Study groups have even formed from this app. Even on Yik Yak, there seems to be some good energy- it just boils down to the users that hold it.

At the end of the day, Yik Yak is a mixed bag. It’s a look into the everyday life of students, and life is cruel, life is funny, and life is often unpredictable.

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