By Brian Riley
Imagine having the power to read everyone’s mind around you, and all that was needed was a free app on your phone. In 2014, this has become somewhat possible. The name of the app is Yik Yak, and it has raised some eyebrows on college campuses nationwide.
“Yik Yak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you,” according to a description of the app in the iTunes store. “It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them.”
In other words, Yik Yak gives people the freedom to say whatever they want to whoever they want without revealing their identity. What is not mentioned in the app’s description is that all of the Yaks on the home screen come from within a 10 mile radius. Yaks can vary from funny jokes, to calling out individuals by what they are wearing, to complaining about professors, etc.
Yik Yak can also put people in an uncomfortable position. Students often Yak about other people in their classroom, usually describing how attractive they are. Yaks also let students air out their complaints about the campus or the school in general. In addition, some Yaks are hilarious comments about the life of a college student.
This app is being widely used by LIU Post students, one being Maximillian Bovin, a sophomore Film major, finds Yik Yak to be light- hearted entertainment. “I laugh at a lot of them,” Bovin said.
As a member of a fraternity, Bovin sees a decent amount of negative Yaks towards himself and his friends. “I’m not a sensitive person; those comments don’t offend me.”
Lauren Thomas, a senior Broadcast major, finds Yik Yak more than funny. “I spend a significant amount of time on it [Yik Yak]; it’s almost an addiction,” Thomas said. She first downloaded the app about a month ago out of curiosity to see what people were saying about her. Thomas’ only gripe about the app is its repetitive nature, and the confidence it gives people because of its anonymity. Thomas feels that people wouldn’t dare say what they post on Yik Yak in real life
Other students are not as positive about the app. Nicole Ryan, a sophomore Theater major, believes this app is not something to be toyed with. “It has a huge potential to be dangerous, if not used properly,” Ryan said. However, she also believes this app can be used for good—in case of an emergency—to spread information quickly.
Ironically, Media Arts Professor Nicole Stevens agrees with the informative capabilities of the app, although she does believe that the app itself is “bizarre,” and should not be used in her class.
Yik Yak launched in December of last year and has gained most of it popularity on college campuses, according to Foxnews.com. The anonymous factor gives way to some shocking, but mostly harmless comments, according to students like Bovin and Thomas. If you’re interested, download it for free and try it out for yourself.