November 5, 2021 | LIFE | By Isabella Ingersoll
On fourth Wednesday last block, I submitted my final essay with a satisfying click! Filled with the adrenaline of completing yet another block without fully losing my mind, I picked up my phone and mindlessly opened up Yik Yak.
The first post my eyes landed upon read: “Ima submit my essay, take two shots, send a text to my block crush and throw my phone away and not look at it until tomorrow.”
I was stunned. My mouth actually hung open for a few seconds. I could not believe how spot-on this comment was, how accurately it described my intentions for that very moment.
If one were to open my iMessage app right then, they would land on a previously written text hitting up my block crush waiting to be sent.
My thumb hovered above the “send” button and, fueled by the camaraderie and validation I felt from the anonymous Yakker, I pressed send with a flourish. That is the beauty and power of Yik Yak.
Over the past few weeks, the app Yik Yak’s popularity at Colorado College has risen to unprecedented heights. According to the app’s Wikipedia page, Yik Yak “allows people to create and view discussion threads within a 5-mile (8.0 km) radius (termed “Yaks” by the application).” In other words, it is a platform where us CC students are able and encouraged to vent about literally anything, and no one knows who you are!
Even better, if your post is clever, witty, or relatable enough, it will receive an upvote, the ultimate instigator of a shot of self-confidence. As a nearby Yakker themself once said, “Yeah sex is nice, but nothing hits like opening this app and finding out your yak got big.”
Yaks are now posted as frequently as at least once every five minutes, which provides students with a wonderful new way to procrastinate.
The app is sometimes compared to other anonymous apps, like Ask.fm or Sarahah (remember those?), where people are able to send anonymous messages to a specific person, such as “I’ve loved you for five years but never had the balls to ask you out,” or “you smell bad.”
In this case, however, rather than sending out a message targeted at one person, you are able to send it to everyone within a five-mile radius; in our case, to everyone at CC. Yik Yak is therefore a unifying platform; sending out a Yak feels like extending a giant hug to all of your peers who are feeling the same feelings and struggling with the same struggles as you. It’s a beautiful thing, really.
In the past, Yik Yak was often a platform for cyberbullying and faced backlash. In fact, the app actually temporarily shut down in 2017. It’s certainly making a comeback now, especially on college campuses. Its popularity is created via word of mouth or by investigating what a group of your friends are laughing about crowded around a phone.
Yik Yak was introduced to me by my roommate, and I have to say, I was quite hesitant to partake initially. I am one of those people who considers themselves to be too sophisticated for TikTok, so I avoided the app for weeks.
However, whenever we would be laying in our adjacent beds at night and she would read out loud a funny Yak from across the room, I would secretly smile into my pillow. Finally, I let my guard down and downloaded the app.
My roommate, Phoebe Frankel ’25, is a Yik Yak connoisseur. I personally think she is downright hilarious, but she avoids posting frequently because she says, “I don’t find myself to be very funny, but if I come up with something that I think will be relatable or funny for other CC kids, I post.” She is more of a consumer, you might say.
I asked Frankel what she thinks Yik Yak’s place on campus is, and she told me that she thinks that while it is certainly a unifier, its role has expanded.
“Oddly enough, [YikYak is] also a way for students to inform each other of what’s going on, like when the hockey ticket website was down or when there was the Loomis Intruder,” Frankel said.
There’s nothing like reading a Yak telling you to avoid the “gendy nooch” on third floor Loomis because there’s some questionable looking conditioner on the floor.
CC’s Yik Yak community has, for the most part, strayed away from the cyberbullying reputation that the app has had in the past, with a few lacrosse or Air Force boy callouts here and there.
“What’s also really cool about the app is that if a post reaches a specific amount of downvotes, the post is taken off….this is done to assist in avoiding cyberbullying,” Frankel said.
To end our conversation, I asked Frankel what her favorite Yak she’s seen is. She said, “This yak really resonated with me: ‘After every block break I get sick and spend the three and a half weeks recovering just to do it all over again.’”
Yaks bring us together, and they let us know we are not alone.
“The app contains really relatable content and is also just a fantastic break from schoolwork… what I also really like is that it’s not like most social media because of its anonymity and simplicity,” Frankel said.
So next time you’re procrastinating on your reading, or infuriated by the most minor inconvenience, why not pull up Yik Yak to see what’s going on in fellow CC students’ heads?