Why Yik-Yak is Great for UMD (Opinion)

by AARON MEGAR

Whether it be making fun of the school’s upcoming opponent in football, complaining about a tough exam, or the ever-so frequent hating on Duke; UMD’s Yik-Yak feed is one full of posts that the entire school can agree upon. It brings the school together on the days leading up to game day and finals while also fostering the creative writing of jokes and anecdotes by UMD’s wide variety of students. I honestly believe that Yik-Yak, the app of anonymity, has a positive effect on the school.

I didn’t realize this until my roommate walked in with a Yik-Yak koozie that he said they were giving away at Stamp, but the app truly is a growing school-wide phenomenon that students may look at as often as their Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For those who don’t know, Yik-Yak is a mobile app where users post anonymous tweet-like statements (maximum of 200 characters) that other users can up, down, or reply to. Certain “yaks” become what they call “hot” as people continue to up vote them. Though users can use the “peek” function to look into different Yak feeds on different college campuses, one’s own feed is based on where they are located, and this case, we’re all looking at the UMD feed.

Courtesy: TerpRunners

Yik-Yak gives the student body an opportunity to virtually rally behind or simply relate to common statements such as:

“College has me so broke, I actually eat the slices at the end of the loaf…” (posted at 9:34 PM on Tuesday night)

“A college kids favorite 2 words: ‘free’ and ‘cancelled.'” (posted 28 minutes later).

In this past week’s edition of The Diamondback, however, an article titled “Yik Yak: Damaging the campus’s image” did not offer the same kind of support. The article discussed the crude, vulgar, racial, and sexual jokes that can at times be found on Yik-Yak. Although these are just as, if not less, common as the supportive, relatable, and school-spirited posts.

The writer of this piece must not have been following Yik-Yak in the days building up to the Ohio State game, where the utmost display of school spirit could be found on the school’s feed as yaks poured in both ridiculing the Buckeyes and cheering on our Terps.

The story that The Diamondback ran does not give Yik-Yak credit for what it really is: not a haven for offensive and hurtful words, but for Terps to express their pride and unity as one funny, spirited, and excited student body.

Courtesy: ChicagoNow

For students, Yik-Yak serves as a source of entertainment on a regular basis, always being updated with laughs and semi-important notifications. These notifications can range from the fact that there was an armed robbery on campus (maybe the school should start using Yik-Yak instead of e-mail for crime alerts) to the great tacos at the diner!

When asked what she loves about Yik-Yak, my floormate Stephanie said:

“I like how it’s a modern way for me to know what’s going on all over campus, while at the same time allowing me to enjoy the jokes about squirrels and exams and all sorts of other collegey stuff.”

When asked about the vulgar and offensive jokes found on Yik-Yak, she said:

“I really don’t find anything offensive, and for people who do, its college, people are going to joke about sex and drugs.”

The article ends by discussing the university’s image and how future Terps can access the school’s Yik-Yak feed while in the process of deciding where to go.

Courtesy: Campus Safety Magazine

While the school’s image from a professional point of view may be tainted by the crudeness found on the feed, for future Terps it illustrates a school full of dignity and spirit, unmatched by most college Yik-Yak feeds that I have looked at throughout the Big Ten and the rest of the nation.

When I “peek” into the feeds of other schools approaching a game day against our Terps every week, there is not a word talking about how they’re going to smash Maryland or how awesome their own team is. Yik-Yak is a reflection how much pride our school really has and this is great for the University of Maryland.

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