“Yik Yak, it’s the new Erodr.”
At least that's what sophomore Xavier Camacho, a user of the anonymous social media app, said. Yik Yak exploded on campus recently.
The idea of a campus-wide social media app is no stranger to DePauw students. Erodr came on the scene last school year. The app allows students with a DePauw University e-mail to connect with one another. The site allows for picture posts, as well as text and allows users to post anonymously once per day. Yik Yak goes along these lines, however it is totally anonymous and uses text posts only.
Where Yik Yak really differs, however, is that it uses location instead of emails. It displays the latest "Yaks" from people within 10 miles of the user’s phone.
Users don’t need to create an account either. They simply download the app. Users can immediately start posting, replying to other posts and “upping” them or “downing” them.
Two buddies, Tyler Droll and Brooks Buffington, who went to Furman University, a small liberal arts school similar to DePauw, started the app.
Posts on the app so far cover everything from random quotes from Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob Squarepants” to opinions on fraternities and sororities.
A hot topic seems to be the fact that first-years aren’t allowed on greek property at the moment. In fact, first-years seem to be the dominant class using the application.
“I feel like the first-year class uses it a lot,” said first-year Chris Kaercher. “It’s a nice way to let out our feelings without any backlash, since no one knows who is actually posting it.”
Students have been getting creative recently in their posts, using the app as a dating service as well. One recent post read, “Any boys or girls looking to have a nice make out?” and then in the replies there seemed to be a successful meeting at Marvin’s.
“The app definitely let’s us know how thirsty everyone is,” Kaercher said.
Some posts are about the weather forecast for the day or simply random thoughts of DePauw students.
One thing that sets Yik Yak apart is that anyone can get the app and start posting as well as read the posts. That means visitors that own the app can read what DePauw students post. The same is also true of people in town or professors that are on campus.
A lot of students on campus enjoy posting, but an even larger amount seem to like reading what other people have to say, like Camacho.
“I think it is the new hot thing to do,” Camacho said. “I usually get on it while I’m board and don’t feel like doing homework, or when I’m walking to class.”
Some DePauw students aren’t even aware of what the app is, like sophomore Cydni Alexander.
“I always hear people talking about it, but I really don’t know what the app actually is,” Alexander said.
Yik Yak is popular beyond DePauw, however. It ranks number 24 on iTunes Top Free Apps charts.
Some favorite Yik Yak locations include music festivals and highly populated cities.
Jordan Philley, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, said the app has been popular on their campus since last school year.
“For a lot of people at Kentucky, Yik Yak is the fastest way to find out what is happening on campus,” Philley said. “Unfortunately, a lot of times, it’s unreliable and just spreads rumors, but it has potential to be a great way for the campus to be in touch with one another.”
Laura Loy, a junior at DePauw feels like Yik Yak is more suitable for a big campus such as UK, but not necessarily for DePauw.
“I feel like having Yik Yak on such a small campus is stupid,” Loy said. “Not to mention, how do people even have the time to use it on this campus?”
Not all responses to the app are good as Philley and Loy suggested. With cyber-bullying a big concern in today’s society, a lot of critics of the app argue that anonymous posting apps such as Yik Yak only encourage anonymous bullying of certain individuals.
DePauw is no exception. Already specific students as well as fraternities have been called out directly through the application.
These cyber-bullying allegations are concerning parents and students alike. Middle and high schools nationwide have banned the YikYak.
The bans raise the question as to how much longer the seemingly harmless app will last on DePauw’s campus.