Yik Yak: Union’s own “burn book”


By lizdevine

“Well I don’t know who wrote this book, but you all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores.”

Mean Girls became a sensation to our generation because although the drama was satirical, it was all too real.

No one actually makes a burn book with their friends while sipping on mocktails made by their cool mom, but we are all guilty of loving a juicy piece of gossip or making the occasional dig at someone we don’t like.

But when that private conversation between friends gets turned into an anonymous gossip digest, discretion and guilt go out the window.

Tina Fey sums up the problem recently sweeping Union’s campus. I am sure almost all of you know about Yik Yak, an app that allows users to post comments anonymously that can be read by anyone with a smartphone and the right location settings.

Once you’re in, it feels like you literally have Union in the palm of your hand. A lot of the posts, to be completely honest, are hilarious.

When I read, “Stop taking pictures of me,” my personal favorite Yak written by “the Nott,” or, “The owner of Goose Hill for president,” it’s easy to see the appeal while I’m doubled over laughing.

The problem is that the majority of the top-rated Yaks are not so appropriate to publish in the school newspaper, and a handful of them have been straight up malicious.

I’m as guilty as anyone for having a little friendly roll of the eyes at the hockey house for not turning off their location settings, but giving people the opportunity to make personal attacks with no accountability is just asking for trouble.

Slut shaming, racist remarks and negative stereotyping are out of control on this app and while I understand how funny a chirp can be, the anonymity is making people feel like they can get away with murder.

You can say anything you want, be as mean as you want and target anyone you want with absolutely no consequences.

Invading people’s private lives and calling people out for their hook-ups in front of the whole school is not cool, and the moment you see your friend’s name on the screen you realize it’s definitely not worth a few chuckles. These words actually hurt people.

We all live our lives trying to do the best we can when it comes to friends, dating or school, and if we don’t get it right all the time we shouldn’t have the added anxiety of having 2,000 or more people up-to-date on our latest failures.

We are a small community as it is, and we should be supporting each other, not trying to tear each other apart.

The second I realized that Yik Yak is so easily used as a bulletin board for bullies, I deleted it.

Besides learning that Union students are incredibly funny, I also learned that I was part of a network that “up arrowed” a derogatory comment about a friend.

It was disheartening to discover that our community wasn’t mature or responsible enough to keep Yik Yak in good fun without resorting to low blows.

It’s just really not worth it to be mean and victimize people for no reason. I encourage everyone to delete their apps as well and get their laughs face-to-face with people.

We should have learned our lesson on karma when we saw Regina George get hit by a bus.

So let’s get those positive spring term vibes back by ignoring Yik Yak.


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