Art by Ariana Henry
The popular social media app, YikYak, has taken the young adult world by storm. As of August 2021, it was the third most popular app on the Apple Store in the United States, according to The Fast Company. Its popularity reigns among the Pepperdine community calculating approximately 158 YikYak comments within 24 hours just within the Malibu campus, with a recent count as of Jan. 20.
YikYak is quite helpful for students to voice their opinions, communicate anonymously and can be a grade A source of entertainment. It can be an outlet for long rants, confessing a secret love or even exchanging thoughts about professors and campus news.
YikYak prides itself on being completely anonymous for its users stating on its website, “On Yik Yak, anonymously connect with everyone within 5 miles.” This can come as a great advantage to users of the app. It allows people to say anything they’re normally too afraid to say.
It can additionally be a place students can share information and reminders about upcoming assignments and exams. Alongside this, students may even voice their frustrations about certain classes or professors and receive validation in their thoughts from others. It’s an interactive source of communication that lends itself to be surprisingly therapeutic.
“[It] provides an opportunity to experiment with ideas without implicating yourself,” said Nora Draper, an assistant professor at the University New Hampshire in an article for the UNH Social.
This concept can be beneficial to the mental health of college students. Communication is extremely important in managing a healthy mentality, according to the website Achieve Concierge. Therefore in the long-run, YikYak has the potential to create some strides in improving mental health, though this is far from being scientifically proven.
On the contrary, YikYak has received significant scrutiny regarding the damage it can do to its users. Websites like the cnet call it a “toxic social network,” and “a hot mess.” Despite this, students should view YikYak as an amusing platform to communicate with others when used responsibly and considerately.
“Topics considered humorous that get a fair amount of attention in the app, according to participants, were relationships, dining hall food, jokes about football games, relatable college experiences and throwback jokes,” according to a study noted in the research article College Students and Yik Yak: An Exploratory Mixed-Methods Study.
According to the same study, there can even be, “moderation,” happening on the app to keep users in check. With features such as, “upvotes” and “downvotes,” users can upvote messages they find entertaining or helpful and downvote messages that are found offensive or rude.
The app is made for fun, so it shouldn’t be taken too seriously, however, it does establish an additional source of quick news for students to know what’s happening on campus. The continued road closure of John Tyler Dr., campus events, which classes are being held in-person, even what food trucks will be outside the Caf are all quick news topics that can be picked up from YikYak.
YikYak projects itself into the conversations of many and on the phones of so many more for a long time into the future, so no matter the stance taken, one thing can be inferred — YikYak can invoke some positivity and excitement into the routinely lives of college students.
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