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Yik Yak

Constructive Social Release or Cyper Weapon

By Calvin Shepherd
On January 27, 2015


Ottawa University is no stranger to the new college gossip app, Yik Yak. The app is a completely anonymous social media app allowing the user to post anything 200 words or less within a 1.5-mile radius using all smartphone’s location services without creating an account of any kind. 

The posts last a few days until they either begin to lose votes or come to a five-vote deficit. The user can post about anything, or anyone without having consequences.

According to Business Insider, two fraternity college students, Tyler Droll and Stephen Buffington, started Yik Yak in 2012. As of November 18, 2014, Yik Yak was earning $75 million and a top-10 social network app.

The app erupted on Thursday, January 20, the grand opening of the yearlong Sesquicentennial celebration for Ottawa University.

The event was required for most students to attend. Randomly, Yik Yaks began appearing mocking and criticizing the president, Kevin Eichner.

He was not alone. The Yik Yaks picked at students in the choir, students who had prepared speeches, played songs and at the administration for forcing them to be there in the first place.

Yik Yak has become an addiction for some students. Transfer sophomore Ashton Rocker, admitted to browsing Yik Yak everyday. “Whenever I wasn’t doing homework or at practice, I’d pull out my phone and get on Yik Yak,” Rocker said. “I would scroll through and read every ‘yak’ until I was re-reading him or her.”

Rocker liked Yik Yak because he believed it to be funny and that he was not laughing at other people’s expense. “Well yes, I think it’s funny when someone posts ‘I stubbed my toe and it hurt’ not when someone makes fun of somebody else online. That’s wrong,” he said.

Even though it may not be “funny” to the readers, this does not stop students from posting about their peers.

On the Ottawa University campus, no one is safe from Yik Yak criticism. Daily, students post about their peers, resident assistants, teachers and campus employees including cafeteria workers, security guards, coaches and even the janitors.

Most of these people are safe from ever seeing the posts about them. Students are not this lucky.

Students post anything from where the parties are at, what events are going on around school and whom they despise the most.

Does the ability to release cruel social ideas from behind a mask create a constructive release for college students or does this bring cyber bullying to a whole new level?

First-year student Todd DeBato has a dream. He wants to be an Olympic athlete. DeBato has no problems sharing his dreams to his fellow students. Little did DeBato know his dream would be mocked on Yik Yak. “I know who it was,” DeBato said. “It was a friend of mine.”

The Yik Yak was a message to him, telling him he would never achieve his dreams. That he was not good enough. “I try to not let those things bother me,” he said.

Recently, someone on Yik Yak posed the question, “Is Ottawa even big enough for this to be anonymous?”

Now that is something to think about before posting on Yik Yak…



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