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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Yik Yak craze hits campus

An+example+of+a+%26%23698%3Byak%2C%26%23698%3B+a+message+students+can+anonymously+send+to+those+living+around+them+through+the+Yik+Yak+app%2C+on+Sunday.+Yik+Yak+is+growing+in+popularity+at+the+UA+with+22+percent+of+the+student+body+using+the+app.

An example of a ʺyak,ʺ a message students can anonymously send to those living around them through the Yik Yak app, on Sunday. Yik Yak is growing in popularity at the UA with 22 percent of the student body using the app.

Yik Yak, a new social media app, is taking over the UA campus and causing students to question if the app is for entertainment or bullying.

According to an email statement from Cam Mullen, lead community developer for Yik Yak, the app is used by 22 percent of the UA student body, and someone on campus posts on the app about every 60 seconds.

Users can anonymously post a 200-word statement or picture — what the app calls a “yak.” Users are able to upvote or downvote the post based on what they feel is most appropriate.

Yik Yak was created by co-founders Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington after they graduated college. The app was intended to let people communicate in the community around them, primarily college students.

Mullen said Yik Yak allows all types of people from around campus to communicate on the same level.

“People from completely different friend groups are talking on Yik Yak that may never talk in the real world,” Mullen said.

Students on the UA campus have mixed feelings about the use of Yik Yak, and are using the app to get information about what is going on around campus, as well as a form of entertainment.

Rikio Campbell, a pre-business freshman, said he checks the app periodically throughout the day, but mainly to distract himself when he is class.

Gabriella Harrington, a pre-nursing freshman, said she does not find value in using the app.

“I don’t really have the time to look at the various thoughts of college students,” Harrington said. “The people who are able to read the posts either find that they can relate to them or find amusement or humor in the posts.”

Campbell said he believes users lack creativity when posting to the app.

“I feel like if people don’t start being creative on there, it is going to die out,” Campbell said.

One of the traits that sets Yik Yak apart from other social media apps is its anonymity. By not having a name attached to the post, Mullen said it allows users to write and create posts that they wouldn’t if their name was run along with it. The anonymity allows users to express their opinions and words freely, but it is also under supervision at all times by monitors who remove inappropriate posts almost immediately.

Before a user is able to publish their first post, they have to agree to a set of rules that specifically highlight not bullying or targeting other “yakkers.” If a user’s yaks are continuously reported, they will be suspended from the app. However, some bullying, racial slurs and cruel content are not always immediately removed.

Yik Yak has become a part of UA life on campus with a little over one-fifth of the student body using the app.

“It’s funny, it’s truthful and it allows people to say what they want,” Campbell said.

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Follow Katelyn Caldwell on Twitter.

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