Opinions & Editorials

Yik Yak: forum for fun or platform for pettiness?

New social media app cloaks mean-spirited comments in anonymity

Despite what a lot of the old folks are saying, I think our generation is pretty awesome. Humor is a really effective method of bridging social gaps, and as a generation, we have perfected the art of cynical, sarcastic humor.

It takes the edge off many serious things when we can laugh about them. And the new app Yik Yak has the potential to help us do that.

Despite being anonymous, a lot of people on the app manage to make great, timely jokes that do not target any one individual and are relatable and genuinely funny. Anonymity on the internet is always a risky proposition, but there are a lot of Yik Yak users out there who manage to not mess it up for everyone else.

Unfortunately, the anonymity always invites that one guy who makes it personal, and it’s official ly gone too far.

Explicitly stated in Yik Yak’s instructions when signing up is a warning: Do not direct any yaks to an individual or individuals in a scathing or hurtful way. Clearly, the way the app is designed lets us know that its creators like to have a good laugh. But they also know when laughter turns into bullying, which can in turn become seriously psychologically damaging for the people getting bullied.

What you anonymous “Yakkers” aren’t realizing is that anyone can download the free app and read everything written near his or her location, including yaks about him- or herself.

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Maxwell Bruns is a first-year Honors Bachelor of Arts and English double major from Milford, Ohio.

Now, making jokes at your own expense on the app should be fair game. We should all be able to laugh at ourselves. Friends making fun of friends can be fine, as long as both friends are in on the joke. And positive observations about other people, when made appropriately, should be encouraged.

But slandering, rudely critiquing, belittling or hurtfully referencing anyone, friend or stranger,on an internet app where anyone can read the posts is absolutely immoral and inhuman, especially since the site is anonymous, and no one has any real way of tracking down the offender. Anyone who uses apps like Yik Yak to intentionally hurt someone else is committing an awful deed, and that person needs to think about the way that he or she is affecting the person they talk about.

The next time you get on Yik Yak, think to yourself, “Is this something that would be appropriate to say to the person it’s about?” If the answer is no, you’re using anonymity to hurt someone else psychologically, and you need to stop. It’s not fun and games when we’re talking about real human beings getting hurt.

Our generation’s sense of humor has caused social constructs to break down, and our generation is truly an accepting one. But there will always be those who wrongly use humor to attack others without regard for how it will make them feel. Please Yak responsibly.