Yik Yak app tramples across campus


Just as people were getting used to using “tweet” as a verb, soon enough they may be saying “yak.” The reason: a new app called Yik Yak.

In case anyone thought news could not travel any faster, it can. Yik Yak is a free anonymity app that acts as a bulletin board for people around a certain location to share their thoughts, attitudes, funny experiences and embarrassing moments.

The description of the app in the iTunes app store says, “Spread the word to grow the heard,” perhaps alluding to the app’s icon, a yak (the animal, of course). Well, the word has spread around Baker University, and the heard (or herd) is multiplying. There is a new Yak posted approximately every 15 minutes in the Baker community.

People can share whatever their heart desires and they will not be judged for it, nor will it come back to haunt them. Other users can comment on posts, downvote them, or upvote them. Upvoting is a good thing, similar to a “like” on Facebook. Downvoting means the opposite, and if a post gets five downvotes, it is automatically deleted. Posts can also be flagged, and any flagged post with foul language is also deleted automatically.

Because the app is location-based, users can only see posts in their area on their home page. It is possible to “peek” at Yaks in other areas, particularly college campuses, by using the search bar. Many posts are witty remarks about college life in general. Local users often promote parties and criticize professors, roommates and Sodexo food.

“It’s funny as long as it’s not trash talking,” junior Anna Hobbs said.

Hobbs yaks her random thoughts once a day, and the largest number of upvotes she has gotten was 37 for posting “The stars are a little brighter tonight. #RIPMauMau.”

Hobbs thinks that the best part of Yik Yak is the fact that everyone supports each other even though it is anonymous. She likes that it is anonymous but does not like when people complain about hanging out with people. Hobbs has been an avid Yakker since the beginning of October after she heard about it on Twitter. She predicts that it will lose popularity after winter break.

Yik Yak has caused somewhat of an uproar at high schools around the country because it makes cyber-bullying so easy. Therefore, the creators of Yik Yak, Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll, geofenced over 100,000 high schools, blocking access to the app if the user is within range of a high school.

College students are mature enough to use the app for the most part, though some do not think that the app serves a good purpose.

“I think it’s really negative and not necessarily something our campus needs,” sophomore Evelyn Vila said. “I just think it’s pointless.”

The Baker Yik Yak has its negativity, but for the time being people continue to make posts that keep others checking in daily.

“I just get on there to see what other people are talking about,” freshman Andrew Zeitlow said.

Zeitlow checks the app about once a day, and said he has only posted once or twice. He started using the app when he got to college, but he thinks it will eventually lose popularity.

Regardless of the possibility that Yik Yak may be just another fad (anyone remember Ask.fm?), in the meantime it is surely entertaining for many current students.