STORY BY MITCHELL FELTZ
Anonymous social media applications have escalated to daring heights recently on college campuses with the likes of Whisper, Secret and Yik Yak.
These apps are based on geographical location and specific colleges, allowing users to communicate anonymously with people in their general area. The idea of being able to not only hide behind a screen, but to do so without any trace appeals to a wide audience.
“It’s very different. It’s basically your daily confessions from mainly Drake students,” said first-year business major Zach Heller. “You can post stuff on there and no one will know who it is. People like that because you can screw around.”
Whether it’s talking about the food at Hubbell Dining Hall or this hot guy I saw at Quad Creek Cafe´, students share their personal encounters at will because they can without any social repercussions from what their friends or family might think. Complaining about a roommate, bragging about a heavy night of drinking or just posting obscenities become effortless.
“I like it because I can see what’s going on around the campus and it’s not too much information like Twitter, but it’s usually just funny stuff or information that you might want about going out,” said first-year environmental science major Jennifer Vickers.
There’s plenty to learn about Drake students from Yik Yak in terms of their nightlife or on-campus struggles such as cheap toilet paper.
The app, however, keeps users informed on everything, whether they want to know it or not. Some students may find these posts as offensive.
“One problem with the app is people often assume a Yik Yak is about them and they don’t really know what they’re talking about, so it can be misleading on occasion,” Vickers said.
Although all users remain anonymous, when a Yak becomes one-upped or liked, a user may feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment for something they won’t get credit for.
“It feels like, wow I’m really important and everybody totally agrees with what I just said,” Heller said.
Will apps like Yik Yak become obsolete and die down as a forgotten trend? Chris Snider, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication addresses this question.
“It seems like everything these days sort of dies out. I think there are some of them that are going to stick around. I think college campuses being able to have an app like Yik Yak would be a good way for first-year students to get to know people who you know you have a shared interest in, which is we all go to Drake University but you don’t have time to go meet everyone,” Snider said. “I think there are definitely some benefits for these apps, and we’ll see them continue, but will any of them rise to the level of Twitter or Facebook? I would say probably not.”