YikYak is a new form of social media that has recently become extremely popular among college students. It is an anonymous forum where one can post whatever they want about their school and the people that attend the school with them. With the emergence of this new technology there are both people who love it and see it as fun way to interact anonymously with classmates and others who think that this form of social media is harmful and that its whole premise is grounds for anonymous cyber bullying.
This app was created and launched by Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington both students at Furman University. In three months the app already has 100,000 monthly active users and there are roughly 15,000 messages that go up every day (Crook). According to creator Tyler Droll “Yakking is the welcoming, authentic and anonymous version of tweeting”. According to psychiatrist Keith Ablow this translates to a chat room where people can post his or her comments completely anonymously regardless of if they are untruthful, mean, or character-assassinating. He also states that psychologically YikYak removes all human characteristics such as empathy and connecting with other human beings because when you are anonymous behind a screen these emotions are not there (Ablow).
When a student gets onto YikYak, they feel like they can do whatever they want because no one will ever know who it is and that gives them power. Some things posted on YikYak can harm a person’s self-confidence and reputation even if they aren’t true.
Since its launch YikYak has already received flak from many schools and organizations because of the ease of causing problems not only among people but also causing problems in whole communities and schools. There have been schools in Massachusetts, Chicago, Connecticut, and California who have had to evacuate because of shooting and bomb threats made on YikYak that are still unsolved.
YikYak has already infiltrated Bluffton University’s campus. If you were to get onto the app right now there would be a newsfeed of a variety of things. Some of these things are harmless and fun while other posts are vicious and target out specific people on campus. These kinds of posts can deeply traumatize the people that they are directed at. How would you feel if you were the one being targeted? Would you want your reputation tarnished or your heart broken by a fellow classmate? Is what you are posting something that you would want to see about yourself? Would you post this post if everyone could see who was saying it? These are all things that you should consider before you post anything about anyone on this anonymous app.