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Anonymous app makes private thoughts public

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The digital campus bulletin known as Yik Yak offers an interesting source of amusing community gossip.

So some of you may have heard of the app known as Yik Yak recently here at Rollins. Many are avid users, many find it to be frivolous and stupid, and many others have absolutely no clue what it even is. Before we continue on, I am going to attempt to describe what Yik Yak is. Yik Yak’s official motto is: “Share your thoughts and keep your privacy.” Essentially, Yik Yak is an app where you can post anonymous comments about virtually anything you want. Yik Yak works on a location-based premise, so, depending on where you are, the yaks available to you will change, allowing you to be ‘up-to-date’ on what is going on in that specific area. Many campuses throughout the country have their own Yak accounts, including Rollins, where others outside of that location can look at what is being said there.

The app was first created in 2013 by two college graduates from Furman University. They created it with the intention of it becoming the “local anonymous Twitter” or the “digital campus bulletin.” Now with Yik Yak at college campuses all throughout the country, the app has gained an enormous reputation. As you can imagine with it being an anonymous app where literally anything can be said, there have been many uses of profane language, racism, as well as cases of severe bullying. Some campuses have even gone as far as blocking the app due to cases of cyber-attacks against students.

I asked some students here at Rollins about their opinions on Yik Yak and the following is what they shared. Johanna Olsson ’17 said, “I think its fun! It’s always fun with new social media, and Yik Yak is something that I look at everyday. I guess the downside would be that people can pretty much write whatever they want—some mean—and get away with it. Overall, though, I think it’s a creative and funny way of demonstrating of sense of community here at Rollins.” Aidan McKean ’17 added, “It’s an interesting source of anonymous community gossip, that is sometimes humorous but sometimes offensive. You can’t believe everything you read on Yik Yak.” Finally, Matthew Chamberlain ’18 very forwardly stated, “Honestly, I think most of it is people who don’t have the balls to say these things with people knowing it was them. Some of it is pretty funny, though.”

Overall, Yik Yak is an amusing app to have, read through, and even post on if you dare. I personally am a fan of Yik Yak, but as sophomore Taylor White ‘17 stated so accurately: “To be honest it’s just another way to waste time, but it can be entertaining.”

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