In the recent article “New app broadcasts Kenyon’s stream of consciousness“, the Kenyon Collegian reviewed the role of Yik Yak on Kenyon’s campus. The app acts as a “virtual bulletin board” where students can “yak” anonymously and see other users’ posts within a ten mile radius of where they are posting. The Collegian article gathered some student impressions of both the positive and negative implications of being able to post anonymously on such a small campus.
What exactly does Kenyon’s “stream of consciousness” say about us? The Thrill asked students to sound-off anonymously, as they would in the Yik Yak forum, in order to build on the impressions from the Collegian article :
- “YikYak is a hilarious app that needs to be taken lightly. When you start to take it seriously that’s when the fun goes away. Most of the “offensive” yaks were written by friends of the yak subject, so everyone chillax.”
- “I think the anonymity of Yik Yak inherently lends itself to cyber bullying. This anonymity encourages students to not take responsibility for their thoughts and ideas, or how those thoughts and ideas may affect other people.”
Read more opinions after the jump!
- “I don’t ever ‘yak’ (like never post anything) but I read [other people’s posts]. Of the ones that offend me, I read them and think they are disgusting…so I think Yik Yak is generally a negative thing. Most definitely not harmless. However, there’s something to be said about being able to be aware of the shitty, nasty things people are saying – not so much the things that target individuals but more so the yaks that indicate there’s some really homophobic, sexist, racist stuff going on on campus. Yik Yak is just evidence that Kenyon isn’t the perfect community that people always assume. It highlights the issues that people sometimes are a bit complacent with but are very much present.”
- “It’s my impression (both personally and based on the opinions I [have heard] from other students) that, although it might seem as though, being anonymous, Yik Yak might potentially create a negative vibe around campus, it’s actually a source of humor and a way of letting off steam at the end of a long day. Furthermore, I think it says something about our campus that, in the space of merely a couple weeks, it’s gotten as popular as it has. Personally, I don’t use the app all that often, though I sometimes read the Newsfeed of what other students have posted. In my view, the material posted seems funny, inoffensive, and sometimes just ridiculous (but not in a bad way). Overall, with regard to my opinion about the app, I don’t perceive it as a negative thing around campus—far from it. I think that it’s just a way of sharing jokes/funny humor throughout the student body.”
- “I understand the argument that this might be only a small number of people writing the majority of these things or that people are only joking around. But when we tell students not to take [offensive comments] personally or that this is just a joke, we are inherently invalidating their experience and asserting that another student’s right to make a racist/misogynistic/classist statement is more important than their comfort. When we post things such as: ‘that softdick narp wearing the oberlin hoodie in newside needs to get fucked’ that is, by definition, sexual harassment. I’m all for using Yik Yak in a positive way, but sexual harassment and racism should not be tolerated on our campus, even under the guise of a ‘joke.'”
What do you think about Yik Yak? Do you love it? Hate it? Do you wish we would stop asking so many questions? Respond in the comments or send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org