Stop the YikYak yapping: Refrain from spreading hate during Sing

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

All-University Sing — one of the favorite pastimes of Baylor students, where we can all come together to see what our peers have spent long, grueling hours creating and cheer them on no matter who we want to see go to Pigskin Revue in the fall.

That’s how it would be in a perfect world, but we live in a very imperfect one where many of us love to see others fail and relish in mockery on social media. And because YikYak, the anonymous community posting app, is so popular on this campus, Sing is often a time of staunch competition and cruel negativity.

This will be my second year writing the Sing reviews for The Lariat, and what I tried to keep in mind last year was that the need to be exacting and witty with the reviews was outweighed by the real commitment and effort on the part of the performers, as well as their deservedness of a fair and honest evaluation.

Partly, the reviews serve to give campus a good idea of what went down on the first night of acts, as many readers may not have been able to score tickets, and a large group of them, I would guess, are parents of performers who were unable to attend as well. That’s why I use the same judging criteria as the Sing judges.

It’s an exercise in the difference between honesty — a fair and respectfully given opinion — and brutal honesty — a thinly veiled excuse for being a jerk.

Last year, as I will continue to do this year, I made it a point to balance my opinions and funny quips with respect for the performers and for the acts themselves. I strived to mix valid, constructive comments with wording that would be entertaining and evocative for the reader.

I can’t say that what I have seen in past years on YikYak has the same commitment. For the most part, posts have ranged from saying one group “flopped” or “was trash” to hyping up others — and very often, they have little to do with the performance as a whole and are aimed at specific performers, whether they did a good job or croaked a note on accident.

While it can be entertaining to point out flaws and have a giggle at some of the funnier moments of Sing, it’s important to try to put yourself in the shoes of a performer before you post something degrading about their act.

Would you want to get off that stage, pull out your phone and see yourself name-dropped for all to see and sneer at? I highly doubt it, and if you did, that would make you kind of a masochist.

Too often, we assume that just because we don’t know someone, they won’t see or be hurt by what we’ve posted about them. The chances of them seeing that post, whether by scrolling on the app themselves or being shown a screenshot, are higher than it flying under their radar altogether. And by the way, most people who post hate comments anonymously wouldn’t dare to do it if their name was tied to it and everyone could see how rude they were.

Posting about Sing in general is not a bad thing at all. The event provides an opportunity for campus to come together and have a common subject of conversation for the two weekends it spans. So by all means, share your thoughts on YikYak or wherever you want, but I challenge you to keep your urge to be a hater to a minimum, even if only for these next couple weeks.