Yik Yak should be used as a college tool

Ashley Remkus

I often see students use social media sites as the bathroom walls of the Internet — Yik Yak is no different.

For those who are not familiar with the app, it allows users on college campuses to post anything anonymously.

According to Yik Yak’s website, “News, funny experiences, shout outs, and jokes spread faster than ever through (the) tight-knit community.”

The app also allows users to give “upvotes” or “downvotes” or make comments on posts from other people in their communities. It resembles a community bulletin board, but the content is far from friendly.

Many posts from members of the UNA community include statements that criticize fraternity men and sorority women, call out students who are “fat” or “ugly,” sexually humiliate university faculty and staff, and refer to sexual assault as a joke.

Some posts call out students and faculty members by name.

The first time I read posts on the app, I was ashamed of the way our university is represented to the world. I could not believe students on my campus would say things like this about each other. But, I also realized they probably would not write such repugnant words if their names were attached, and they probably would not make such abhorrent comments if the targets of their abuse were standing in front of them.

I also wondered what the creators of the app were thinking. I’d like to think they had something more mature and useful in mind since the first rule on the app reads, “You do not bully or specifically target other yakkers,” and rule four states, “Don’t clutter people’s feeds with useless or offensive yaks (….)”

To be honest, I do not see many useful or inoffensive posts on the app. Most of what I read is trash.

Campus leaders and administrators have recently talked about developing a better sense of community on campus—making students feel comfortable like they would at home.

Interim President John Thornell said, “We want to make sure students know there’s somebody they can turn to if they’re having a tough time.”

Students, faculty and staff members should make every person feel at home here. If any member of the campus community is being harassed online by other members, he or she probably will not enjoy his or her time here.

The app has the potential to be used as a place for identifying community concerns and issues that affect many people.

Yik Yak should be used as a discussion board for solutions to such problems.