Intro by Cailean Osborne, Lifestyle Editor:
While Yik Yak was launched in 2013, it really started to take flight last summer and has now landed in Edinburgh. Yik Yak is everywhere on campus. Students are yakking, as it’s called, about lectures, tutorials, the library, Teviot, Potterrow, their flatmates, their halls, their societies, their clubs, nightclubs, their lives – you get the picture. Yaks like, ‘Waking up and reading yaks like it’s the morning paper,’ which received 103 Ups, are evidence of Yik Yak’s growing importance to Edinburgh University students.
By Oliver Abrahams, @freshvitaminC:
Yik Yak was created by two South Carolina students to bring together students around the world in their campus radiuses in anonymous idea sharing. One brilliant feature of Yik Yak is its peer-review-esque scheme, where fellow yakkers upvote and downvote yaks. Bullies are shot down after five down-votes, seeing their yak removed from the feed. Therefore, it is no platform for offence or harassment. Although there are exceptions, for instance when a yakker shared, “Those people you keep as friends on Facebook just so you can laugh at their lives,” receiving 100 up-votes. But for the most part, Edinburgh University students have shown that Yik Yak can be great when used responsibly, and it allows students to share their qualms and witty one-liners. An example of a comical yak, “My relationship aims: find someone who treats me like Kanye treats Kanye,” getting 100+ up votes, Yaks like this are few and far between with most expiring with 1 or 2 up votes.
With an app that only functions as long as its popularity remains, its lifespan is questionable, however. Like many apps these days, it is in danger of a cycle of decline as soon as students lose interest.
Furthermore, more and more writers are drawn further into the realms of Yik Yak, where the pressure to write a successful yak builds, naturally causing mild stress and often no results for the yakker. Their experience of Yik Yak certainly will be frustrating and unstable.
However, one must bear in mind, this app has a different purpose: to share ideas about what’s happening around you; what students are doing and thinking on your campus. Your last concern should be, ‘How do I write a witty yak?’ If anything, you won’t receive the popular credit because after all it’s anonymous.
All in all, Yik Yak is a whole new level of social media allowing everyone to share their ideas on a level playing field and it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
By Sarah Rutledge, @rutabagels:
Yik Yak is a phone app designed by students for students. The biggest factor that has increased the app’s popularity is the fact that it is anonymous. This anonymity means people are able to post whatever they please without any repercussions. Controversially, this has led to students in Edinburgh attacking different groups of people in ways that no one would do if their names were made known. An example, “Arrogance can conceivably be earned by 1) being attractive 2) being smart or 3) being funny. With 0/3, how come all the Model United Nations people are so arrogant?” ‘Yaks’ such as this are the reason why Yik Yak has been banned from many campuses throughout the United States.
Overall, however, Yik Yak brings a greater sense of community to regularly isolated students. University can often be stressful and Yaks such as, “Waking up and knowing that this is the day you will pull your life and uni grades together. Get breakfast. Go back to bed and sleep for the rest of the day,” are a reminder that we are not alone in the way we are feeling. University may be stressful, but Yik Yak is a reminder that 30,000 other students are all having the same struggles every day. This app has become a way to express creativity and a platform to bring together communities of students. Any negatives are clearly outweighed by positives. It is only a matter of time until we see Yik Yak growing to be as big as things such as Twitter and Facebook.