What is “Yik Yak” and what do students get out of it?

By: Kyley Wilhite

Multimedia Journalist

If you’re not already aware of what “Yik Yak” is, you are definitely missing out. Yik Yak allows for students to post things called “yaks” and interact with people in their “herd,” which is anyone within a five-mile radius.

YiK Yak app logo.
Photo Courtesy of the App Store.

On the app, your identity is a secret so you are allowed to post things in privacy. For the Tarleton State University Stephenville campus, I have seen funny content, informative information about events and polls for our community. Unfortunately, on some campuses, bullying is present on the app.

An online review of the app states, “It’s pretty neat to have on a college campus, and with the community guidelines, bullying is kept to a minimum. Plus, it’s fun to get a sense of what the community is feeling, along with funny posts to keep you going.”

A screenshot of what the home page of the app looks like when you open it.
Photo By: Kyley Wilhite

When you look at ours, you may see comments about people getting parking tickets, or being upset with how long lines are for homecoming activities.

Sophomore Marketing major Macey Jacobs said, “I think it’s fine if you’re not going to take everything to heart. It’s all a fun joke and lots of students like posting about organizations on campus.”

From there, you can upvote or downvote these messages depending on if you like them or not. This gives you “yakarma” points, which can give you a higher or lower ranking on the app.

“I love Yik Yak, I think it’s like Tarleton’s personal Twitter, and lots of my friends think that the app is hilarious,” Jacobs said.

Some faculty members, however, are concerned that this new application is the reason that students aren’t listening in class, and turning in assignments late.

Professor Winston Dawson said, “Of course, students are going to be on their phones in class, that is inevitable, however, it seems like those students tend to do worse on assignments.”

Dr. Alison Pierce Stevens said, “People like to think they can multitask, but the brain can actually only focus on one thing at a time.”

This raises the question of who is actually affected by phone use?

Mengxue King, a psychologist at Rutgers University, said, “Students aren’t the only ones who are affected. This is due to human tendencies to grab your handheld device.”

King later added, “It can affect professors as well. If they take that call or answer that email while trying to lecture, it’s easier for students to, in turn, get off task.”

I don’t believe that Yik Yak will be going anywhere anytime soon, but I do believe that you should limit your intake to it.

 As Stevens said, “When you’re in lectures, focus on that. Your phone won’t be going anywhere while you’re there.”

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