By SAN AGARWAL
Yik Yak is a brand new social media app created for students 17 and older to socialize with other classmates through an internet forum format. This trending app is especially popular amongst high school and college students because of its basic function as an anonymous twitter. Users can post messages with their opinions and read other nameless posts. Additionally, the posts, or Yaks, that appear on users’ feeds are posted only from people who post locally. This feature does not limit users, however, as they can also click on a list of colleges to view Yaks from a specific school.
According to Business Insider, Yik Yak is used by thousands of students on more than 250 campuses across the country, with some schools holding as many as 10,000 users. The app maintains a four-star rating on the iTunes App Store and is a fun social media app to use when bored, similar to a light-hearted gossiping website.
Personally, I have found this app entertaining because it gives me a great laugh whenever I need one and connects me to my community. Anyone using this app should be aware, however, that not all Yaks are to be taken seriously. The app is meant to amuse, but if users are offended by a post, they can simply down-vote it; after six down-votes, a Yak gets automatically deleted.
Though the app is intended only for college students, users do not have to create a profile with information about their age, making it difficult for the app to enforce the age restriction. In fact, many high school students, including students at University High School (UHS), are using the app even though it’s not intended for them. Although Yik Yak is blocked in certain parts of the UHS campus, many students still use the app after school.
My major issue with Yik Yak is the prevalent vulgar language on many posts; I believe there should be an option to block out all inappropriate Yaks. Additionally, because there is no identity linked to posts, the app can be easily used for cyber bullying. Yaks can be used to gossip, spread false rumors and put down others. Even with the down-vote removal policy, security issues sometimes arise because posts are not filtered by an app monitor and are deleted only based on user popularity. Because of its potential security and cyber-bullying problems, many high schools discourage the use of Yik Yak.
Srijan Kumar (So.) said of the Yaks, “I have read so many hilarious posts that have made my day, but I’ve also read some posts targeted at me; I do not think of it as a big deal. I know anything posted on there should not be taken seriously, but sometimes it does feel bad to read.”
Michael Jung (Jr.) believes that as long as the gossip on the app is not too harmful, the app is “a great way to just rant off for me. It sort of feels nice to sometimes just get things off my chest, and express my actual feelings.”
Yik Yak can be downloaded f0r free from the iTunes App Store.