Points of View: User anonymity heart of Yik Yak success

By Allyssa Schoonover

Yik Yak is an app that consists of an anonymous chat board. It uses the GPS software in your phone and displays the posts from the 500 closest users to you. Personally, I like to describe it as the Burn Book of social media. The posts on Yik Yak can be ruthless, hilarious and everything in between.

It’s completely anonymous, and that is the best and worst aspect of this app. If you’re unfamiliar with Yik Yak, imagine a place where angry exes, gossipy girls and racists can unleash their worst comments with absolutely no repercussions.

I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I like this app.

My attention to Instagram and Twitter has diminished due to the stupid amount of time I spend reading and posting. It gives me a good laugh, and I feel informed about campus gossip.

Unfortunately, though, I have seen and experienced the negative connotations that accompany this app and its anonymity.

While some people might say that it’s just “trolling,” calling people names or spreading rumors can really affect someone.

People need to quit posting names and stick to more general and humorous topics.

Yik Yak has the ability to change the word gaggle (one of Yik Yak’s competitors) to google; and I think they should use this technology to monitor other things as well.

I’m glad it is so easy to down vote and report posts, because I think it is important to prevent the cyber-bullying Yik Yak can cause.

While some people find it annoying that people report all of their posts, it helps keep the feed cleaner and keeps people from getting roasted on this app.

There are tons of funny posts that are not targeted at anyone in particular. For example, “I use my sink in my dorm as my personal urinal,” or “Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Baylor Parking Services,” and tons of others that are likely funnier but not appropriate for this column.

Diadeloso was the hot topic leading up to the event.

People yakked away about their opinions on parties, wristbands, campus activities and the cops. It is a safe place to post about your observations around campus, tell funny stories or jokes, or ask questions you would be too afraid to openly ask.

Those also tend to be the posts that get the highest votes. Baylor “yakkers” tend to post pointless questions like “Hottest frat guys?”

While it was mildly entertaining at first, it got really old, really fast.

The main reason people read the comments on those posts was likely to look for their own name. Who wouldn’t enjoy a little confidence boost via an anonymous app?

The downside, however, is all the ruthless college kids who feel the need to call out promiscuous girls and guys or make racist comments when they don’t have any real information.

It can become the epitome of cyber-bullying with all of its harmful effects, especially when they include full names of these people.

While it’s unlikely that many people who use this app actually read the rules and conditions, it states that you should not target other yakkers.

Luckily it is easy to report or down vote offensive and pointless yaks. Once a yak is reported, or if it gets enough down votes, it disappears.

This app seems to be a guilty pleasure for many students. It has its positive sides for sure.

Sharing your thoughts and jokes with other students and getting the reassurance that you are in fact funny is great. Imagine, though, if the app lost its anonymity.

So many people would freak out and regret things they had posted in the past. Maybe it would remind people of what their mothers told them when they were young: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Allyssa Schoonovor is a senior journalism major from Andover, Kan. She is a reporter for The Lariat.