The Yik Yak Revolution: Is it the new Twitter?

While technology seems to be advancing at the speed of light, consumers today find themselves burdened with this immense responsibility to keep up. Whether it’s buying the latest apple product or even something as simple as downloading an app, there’s a lot out there for people to choose from. Over the last year or so however, college campuses around the country have seen an increasingly large number of students using ‘Yik Yak’. What is this weird sounding thing you ask? In essence it’s anonymous twitter. Except it isn’t really. This is how it basically works; you type something into the “What’s on your mind?” box and post anonymously. It then gets sent to everyone in the area’s newsfeed. Users will then have the ability to upvote (^) or downvote the post, causing any post that receives more than a few downvotes to be removed permanently.

For months I’d heard friends talking about it beginning sometime last semester, but I’d just assumed it was a trend that would be forgotten once the summer began and there was no one to yak about/with. But lo and behold, this semester too, if you listen hard enough you can hear the yaks in the hallways. My curiosity getting the better of me I decided to download the app last week. However, I soon discovered that there really wasn’t much that I was missing out on in particular. It would appear that all that kids in college really care about is drugs, sex (or lack there-of) and dissing people. News feeds would be filled with obscene language and private thoughts that would be otherwise publically unacceptable. I think that’s part of what the allure was; the ability for kids to voice his or her deepest, darkest thoughts without the fear of judgment from their peers. And the fact that students can’t be vocal about their thoughts just makes me sad. Many of them post these things in an effort to reach out; they want attention, they want – just for a couple of minutes – to be “popular”, even if it is anonymously. All that they really want is to connect with someone their own age, to feel some form of unity and know that others experience things much the way they do.

I won’t sit up here on my high horse and lie. I got pretty hooked and would spend hours commenting on some posts, (hell I’ll admit it – even posting some stuff myself), refreshing my feed and having a good laugh or two at another’s expense. The posts were entertaining as hell in their pathetic-ness. But for the most part they just reflected a deep and sad loneliness. While the app serves as a great platform for expression, its greatest strength lying in the anonymity of its writers, I feel as if all this pent-up emotion and ingenuity could be redirected in a better and more constructive manner if given the right outlet. But is it the new Twitter? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see as many Twitter posts from my friends as used to.

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