Yik Yak, the infamous anonymous app, often gets a bad rep. A quick Google and I’m sure you’ll find articles using phrases like ‘hotbed of hate’ and talking about how Universities and colleges should ban the platform. However, I don’t agree with this approach at all, and wanted to quickly share a real example of why I’m actually in favour of the Yak.
We’ve been using Yik Yak as a listening tool at Warwick over the course of this academic year. The content posted there is a mixture of funny, eye-opening and, usually, quite sweary.
But there’s also a solid community growing in the Warwick herd; whether it’s helpful replies about where the nearest printer is or the supportive responses I’ve seen when students have posted about missing home, worrying about their exams or just feeling depressed, it’s all been uplifting to see.
Our Yik Yak community really showed its spirit a few weeks back during an incident on campus; we had a hoax gun threat that resulted in armed police coming to campus as part of their investigations. This threat had come via Twitter, so many people worked out what was going on.
Sadly, and in keeping with many of anti-Yik Yak articles, some students chose to post fake Yaks about someone being shot.
Not true. Not helpful.
But, rather than let the lies gather momentum, our herd was quick to react – posting requests for the community to downvote fake posts and get them out of people’s feeds.
They also made an effort to post accurate information, in Yaks that quickly gathered far more upvotes than those fake ones.
We also saw a sense from our herd that they didn’t appreciate the fake posts.
This may seem a small and simple example, but I think it shows that Yik Yak is far from being a thing of evil. I was really heartened to see how the Warwick herd reacted that day and thank all of those who posted helpful Yaks.
As much as anything, this is a useful reminder that the negative voices are almost always the loudest; just because it’s harder to find people out there on the world wide web speaking in positive terms about Yik Yak, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
What are your experiences of Yik Yak on your campus? Let me know below!