I don’t know if you have heard all the rave lately but there is new app called Yik Yak which you can download on the app store (it’s free) and allows you to share whatever you want and is basically anonymous. This might sound like a cool idea at first, especially if you love twitter and want to share your feelings anonymously. However, it is not cool, in fact it is immature, callous and cruel to our community.
Do you remember that website we all used in middle school, Formspring, where people could anonymously ask you questions? Well some were questions, some were compliments (OMG you’re so pretty!!), and some were really mean comments; the user would comment something like “haters gonna hate” but in actuality would be crying behind the shield of a computer screen. Do you know what kind of tool this virtual bullying has? While there were numerous cases of teen suicides in the US in the past few years as a result of these anonymous forums that belittle people and the worst part, when all is said and done the bully can hide and never has to take blame for their actions.
How does this connect to Lehigh and Yik Yak? At Lehigh, we are seeing the same kind of behavior we saw in middle school on Formspring, on Yik Yak. Yik Yak it cites in its Terms and Conditions that “physical persons must be 17 year olds to use this service” and “in using the Yik Yak service you may encounter content that may be deemed objectionable, obscene, or in poor taste”. You may ask why the 17 year limit, apparently according to Yik Yak founders it is intended for college students. However, there is a dark side too, in high schools in California, Georgia and Massachusetts students were evacuated due to bomb threats posted on their schools local Yik Yak. Yik Yak founders are trying to fix the problems by using geo-fences around middle and high schools, so that it will essentially locate you and disable the app while on campus.
But how does this affect Lehigh? Though (luckily) nobody has issued a bomb threat on our Yik Yak, it does have the same cyberbullying affect as it does in middle schools and high schools across America. Some younger Yik Yak users have compared the site to a “a virtual bathroom wall where users post vitriol and hate.” As it seems, Lehigh is an institution for higher learning filled with 18-22 year olds (no longer 13) who resort to bullying as well. This isn’t to say all comments that Lehigh students have posted on Yik Yak are harmful, some in fact are very funny:
Sure the service may claim to be anonymous but when certain people make derogatory comments about other groups on campus, you kind of revealed your anonymity. Comments like this:
The true hypocrisy and idiocy of the last comment, is that the two blanked out names are different sororities. Do not worry I don’t doubt that whomever wrote this comment truly feels this way for a second, but because the two blanked out houses are not in your sorority does not entail that those sororities are irrelevant. I am sure these girls pay as many dues and attend as many events for their own houses as you do for yours, so your comment in all honestly makes you appear so incredibly incompetent. In addition the “you don’t belong” comment, what makes you qualified to say that statement? Maybe that girl is the girlfriend of a brother of that given fraternity; maybe she is meeting up with a friend from freshmen year, regardless of the decision why does it matter to you? Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the point of a party was to be social and meet new people, so if people besides your own sorority sisters are there, isn’t that a perfect time to be friendly and widen your social circle?
This may sound utopian and stupid, but why can’t we all be nice to one another? I am not saying everyone is going to be best friends forever, I am realistic, but would it really kill you to see someone different at party you don’t know and say hi? Or don’t even say hi, but please stop making cowardly comments on Yik Yak. I believe cowardly is the right word to use because you leave these mean hurtful comments and take no responsibility for your feelings. The founders of Yik Yak claim on their website that “Anonymity is a beautiful thing.” Sorry, but I beg to differ because if Lehigh people wanted to comment how much they love the Crepe lady at lower on Yik Yak, I would jump on the bandwagon too, but I do not condone or support such a use of technology that does nothing but help bullies bully others.
Upset Lehigh community member who really hopes we can actually start acting like an equitable community