The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

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The power of the Yak

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Anonymous tips, confessions and quick one-liners bring students together on the social media app Yik Yak.

Since the Cynic’s last article on the app, representatives for Yik Yak have been in contact.

The app has become increasingly popular throughout college campuses, especially at UVM, said Ben Topkin, a Yik Yak representative.

The app’s goal is to “locally voice your opinion to everyone on campus and create an open forum to people who would otherwise not have one,” Topkin said.

In contrast to other social media apps such as Twitter and Facebook, Yik Yak allows users to anonymously post messages within a 1.5 mile area of where they are.

Only users who are within the radius can then vote or comment on posts.

Depending on how people vote, the post is moved up or down the news feed based on popularity.

For sophomore Tyler Davis, Yik Yak is an opportunity to post humor, while remaining anonymous.

“It allows me to be a comedian for the community,” Davis said.

Topkin credits the app’s success to its ability to connect people with similar ideals.

“The number one advantage to using Yik Yak is that you reach a lot more people a lot…quicker,” Topkin said.

Examples of UVM Yik Yak posts include:
“PSA: Bacon samples in Brennan’s,” and “If I just helplessly lay in this pool of tears and textbooks, will I just absorb all the information I’m supposed to know by tomorrow?”

The app’s anonymous feature has also allowed it to become a platform for calls for help and a “support mechanism,” Davis said.

“In our world it’s hard to get a sympathetic answer [support]”, an anonymous student said.
“Whereas Yik Yak users are willing to help.”

In a response to one user’s comment about a death of a family member, another user wrote, “Been there before buddy. Keep your head up and do your best. You got it.”

In other instances, posts that are found offensive such as “racist, sexist, and negative comments get rated right out,” Davis said.

“It shows testament to the morality of the UVM community,” he said.

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
The power of the Yak