Yik Yak is back.
The app that wreaked havoc amongst students on campus last year has resurfaced, and some may argue it’s worse than it ever was before.
Yik Yak is an app to “get a live feed of what people are saying around you.” While the purpose of the app may be for people in a particular area to communicate with one another, it is often used to target individuals or certain groups on campus, particularly fraternities and sororities.
The majority of Yik Yak posts are written at night and appear to be written while people are drunk due to the incoherent, offensive nature of the posts.
On any given morning, the Yik Yak feed is full of gossip about the previous night’s parties. Sorority girls are often criticized for being “stuck up,” “ugly” or worse, but with more aggressive and offensive language. Similarly, the relative social status of each fraternity is discussed, typically in derogatory terms, as well.
Because Yik Yak is anonymous, people believe there are no ramifications for the hurtful things they post on the app. It’s shameful that people hide behind their phone screens writing ugly and mean-spirited things about fellow students and organizations that they would never consider writing if the posts weren’t anonymous.
Although the posts can’t be traced back to the writer, Yik Yak users need to consider those who may be offended by their posts. Obviously many of the posts are just written to be funny, as half of them don’t even make sense. However, posters need to consider whom they may be hurting.
Last year, Yik Yak became such a craze that school administrators had to send out an email asking students to delete the app, as it was pitting Greek organizations against one another, as well as offending students on campus.
Posters should recognize that the petty and vulgar posts on Yik Yak are by no means the way college students should be conversing with one another. It’s appalling to think that students on Lehigh’s campus target one another through an anonymous social media app. If someone wants to write a post that is so offensive and vulgar that they don’t want their name attached to it, then maybe they should reconsider before posting it.
It’s also shortsighted that people in one Greek house rejoice when another house is the target of the Yik Yak comments that particular day, when they’re the ones who will most likely be the topic of discussion the following day.
Lehigh’s Panhellenic Council has been working particularly hard this year to eliminate the tension and competitive nature between the different Greek organizations on campus. In order to promote a cohesive environment on campus, students need to stop targeting each other on Yik Yak. Calling sorority girls “fat,” fraternity boys “gay,” and those not affiliated with Greek life “losers” is not only immature and offensive, but also fosters division among students.
If someone feels that strongly about posting on Yik Yak, they should at least have the courage to attach their name to it. Posters should consider how they would feel if they were the target of such vitriolic posts, or the consequences to their life on campus if Yik Yak was hacked and their identity as a poster were revealed. If this isn’t enough to stop posters, they should consider the damage a simple Yik Yak post could do to their future life and career if their identity was revealed.
Instead of hiding behind phones to target others, students and Greek organizations should be working with one another and supporting each other. By anonymously posting harmful comments on Yik Yak, students are only creating tension within the different groups and organizations on campus, which is the opposite of what we, as the Lehigh community, should be working for. We are part of a great institution, and this behavior is beneath the standards we should set for ourselves.