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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Have you ever wanted to post to Twitter and say whatever you want with no consequences? Well, let me tell you about a little app called Yik Yak. It has exploded on college campuses in the last year and has certainly caused a lot of chatter. If you are unfamiliar with Yik Yak, it is an app that uses your location and lets you anonymously post to people in your area. Every post can either be upvoted or downvoted by “the herd” which is the name for other users in your area. If a post receives five downvotes, it is removed. There is no limit to how much a post can be upvoted if the herd agrees.

This app has become popular on college campuses because there is a tightly packed group of young adults that all share similar experiences. Things like football games, signing up for classes, greek life, and relationship advice are frequent topics of conversation. Sometimes, the app can be very funny. People make jokes about relatable college experiences like dreading an 8 AM class or being nervous about talking to your crush at the rec center. People even give each other great advice from time to time if they are looking for the right professor to take in a class or even if someone is struggling with mental health. I have seen people give advice and even therapist recommendations. There is good on this app. When you put that anonymity with an open forum, people who might be scared to ask a question or for advice feel like they can be open and free. Although, these instances are not the only components of Yik Yak.

It is not hard to imagine the ways that an anonymous forum can go south quickly. When there are virtually no consequences to the things said, people can quickly take things in a negative direction. A lot of people use the app as a way to vent about things or people that bother them or upset them. This is not necessarily a bad thing to blow off a little steam, but venting to strangers isn’t going to help you solve the problem. It could actually lead to more resentment, especially if people on the app are encouraging your frustration. One of the worst things I have seen on the app is the bullying of groups and individuals. There is a lot of talk about different fraternities and sororities, and rating which is the best and which is the worst. This makes people establish stereotypes about certain groups and makes those members feel bad about their organization. I have also seen specific people’s names on the app which is appalling as there is nothing those individuals can do to take it down but hope that it is downvoted by the herd or reported for a violation of community guidelines.

While Yik Yak is fun sometimes, I think a large majority of the time the app consists of negativity. It can so easily be utilized for bullying. When everyone upvotes bullying comments, it makes the people being talked about feel like everyone around them agrees and doesn’t like them. All social media can be used positively or negatively, unfortunately, I think anonymity encourages negativity.

Senior Economics major and political science minor from Germantown, Tennessee graduating in May.