Yik Yak: Let’s Talk About It

The title of this article seems to speak for itself, but I figured it was about time that someone opened up the floor to discuss the madness that is Yik Yak. For those of you unfamiliar, Yik Yak is an app that allows users to post messages anonymously. You can view comments from anyone that is within a five mile radius of your current location. Users can comment, as well as  “upvote” or “downvote” a message. The app was taken down for sometime, but college students everywhere have decided to resurrect it. I’m sure as you can imagine, that shit got weird fast. 

Kenyon, being a small liberal arts college in rural Ohio, is a breeding ground for content on this app. Yik Yak’s message board is filled with a collection of comments on people’s bowel movements post-Peirce brisket, disturbing descriptions of student’s mental states and a lot of talk of freshmen meeting up in the McBride breezeway to smoke a joint. There is an absurd amount of candidacy, which I assume is because of its anonymity? All I’m saying is Cox Counseling Center may want to investigate this. There are a ton of comments like: “I’m so lonely. How do I make friends here?” Which I suppose it is endearing for someone to open up like that and see other students offering legitimate advice? However, I do get violently confused when I see a comment right below it describing the process of holding in a fart while studying in Chalmers. 

Usually with social media, there is a collective sense of what is “appropriate” or “normal”, right? No tea or shade for those that defy that model. Power to them. But with Yik Yak, I am not kidding when I say anything goes. In one scroll, I can see a message like: “I was walking down Middle Path today and a pebble flew up and lodged itself directly into my urethra.” In the same breath I read: “Does anyone know when Wiggins indoor seating will open?” So I suppose the platform is equally informative as unhinged? In some ways, it has sort of become a student “forum.” I get most of my Kenyon intel from this app. For a minute, people discussed Chilitos and the status on their re-opening, people talked about the amount of student COVID cases (Namedropping too! Piping. Hot. Tea.) and even would give updates on the Deli bees.

Don’t get me wrong, this app is also proof that Kenyon students are friggin hilarious. The humor is dry, slightly disturbing and wildly random. However, honorable mention to whoever wrote: “Party in Caples. Bring poop.” Honestly, I am embarrassed to even type that, never mind admit that my roommate and I laughed at that for days. But I do have to give credit where credit is due. 

I have to note that there is a significant amount of tension between the athletes and NARPS (non-athletic regular people) on this app. Even though I guess I am considered a NARP myself, wow these folk are violent. I’m talking full on heckling! I guess like any other social media app, especially one that was designed for middle schoolers who love to gossip, feuds are bound to ensue. There is the classic jab at, and I’m not confirming nor denying this here, athletes who let their masks hang right under the nose. Don’t shoot the messenger, the Yaks go crazy about that stuff. Not only that, athletes clap back with comments about NARP fashion and their choice to wear low rise skinny jeans and a shawl from Goodwill. Once again, this is just the stuff I read people. Total blood bath. Not for the faint of heart.

There is a lot to unpack here. I felt like I have gotten to know the student body in this format better than any other. Maybe I’ve gotten to know them a bit too well. Seriously, some things I can’t unsee and feel very uneasy about, but isn’t that what it’s all about? Making your classmates your close confidants? Community. It is a wonderful thing.

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