Anonymous social media accounts have become quite a trend among today’s younger generation. Most recently, Yik Yak has hit the scene. Advertised as a local community bulletin board, this website has devolved into a gossip site marked by rumors, bad language and crude humor. The site accepts anonymous contributions from users within a 10-mile radius, and is currently trending among undergraduates at John Carroll University.
Cleaning up the site would be the most effective solution, but, short of that, the anonymity it provides should be done away with.
Similar websites have had their share of popularity in recent years. One of the most popular sites is Collegefession. This Twitter account also accepts anonymous confessions from college students from around the country with topics mainly centering around sexual activity. Additionally, many John Carroll students on Twitter have contributed to other anonymous accounts such as JCU Crushes and JCU Confessions.
These accounts differ from Yik Yak, however, in the severity of comments submitted. The Twitter accounts are censored by their creators for obscenities and overly inappropriate comments. The anonymity and lack of accountability on Yik Yak has turned the website into a sounding board for people’s most outrageous comments.
Furthermore, the fact that the site was created with good intentions and has become what it is now speaks volumes about the immaturity of many contributors. Students, who otherwise wouldn’t vocalize such thoughts, hide behind their computers and rely on the lack of accountability for their submissions.
This is not a singular occurrence, which unfortunately negatively reflects upon today’s society. In addition, Yik Yak’s popularity among John Carroll students does a disservice to the community by perpetuating lewd negativity.
The most basic solution would be for students to refrain from using this website – both for submissions and for reading others’ submissions. However, due to the website’s popularity, this may not happen in the near future. Therefore, those who insist on continuing to use the website should be more conscientious of their submissions and the potential repercussions of those submissions. It is important to remember that anonymity does not truly exist on the Internet, and such comments can almost always be traced back to the original user.
Another option would be for Yik Yak’s creators to disallow anonymous posting. By eliminating the factor of anonymity, it is entirely plausible that submissions will be much less inappropriate and cruel.
John Carroll students are expected to excel in learning, leadership and service. While many schools have similar problems, John Carroll’s concern for social justice should compel students to rise above such behavior. Thus, it is time to begin a new trend of conscientious use of social media.