Yik Yak: it’s the social media sensation that’s sweeping Vikes Nation. And with good reason: hipper than Facebook and more ridiculous than Tumblr, Yik Yak is kind of like an anonymous Twitter. This anonymity and short post format allow for bite-sized pieces of hilarity from individual UVic students who may be too shy to post on Facebook social groups or any other social media.
Yik Yak “herds” are conversation groups divided by geographical area, and anyone within that area may post their own yaks (yiks?) for others to upvote, downvote, and comment upon at will. Yik Yak is a unique social media app in that you cannot follow or link yourself to other specific users, meaning that you end up seeing the posts of all the people in your geographical area. This alleviates the social anxiety that sometimes comes with posting on Facebook, where you worry about whether your friends will be annoyed by the second post you’ve made this week about your toe fungus. (Hint: they will be.)
Thanks to anonymous posting, we get delightfully candid posts like, “I just found out that the guy I DPed this girl with last weekend was my ex girlfriend’s ex……. And we’ve been blazing together since Monday….” and “Ugh I’m so sick, I swear my garbage can has more tissues in it than a 14 year old boy’s..” Ah, quality discourse in the university environment.
Many UVic Yik Yak posts talk about getting completely hammered, and, conversely, not liking parties at all. Many seem to use Yik Yak as a place to tell others that they’ve failed to do their homework yet again and are currently bingeing on Netflix.
The Yik Yak community is also known to dispense advice to students in need. Asking about every class from BIO 186 to CHEM 231, no one seems to know if they have a lab this week, or what they missed in that first class. Many Yikkers (Yakkers?) also turn to the app for advice on love. From questions about whether a girl can make the first move on a guy to how to confess a crush to your best friend, Yik Yak users got 99 problems, most of which are about lecture crushes. (Seriously — just talk to them.) Yik Yak can also be a refuge for those seeking advice on more serious topics, like whether or not they may be an alcoholic, or how to assuage suicidal feelings. Users usually respond kindly to such posts, restoring some of my battered faith in humanity.
However, Yik Yak has an ugly side. Some users show hostility to anyone trying to stand up for social justice. Commenters calling for more sensitivity and equality tend to get shut down by others, who insist that the person complaining is too sensitive and needs to lighten up.
Yik Yak can be bizarre at times, but is definitely worth looking into. This is an app that goes beyond the vapid narcissism of other social media to document the occasionally all-too-real day-to-day of student life. If you’re looking for honesty, hilarity and occasional hypocrisy, look no further.