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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Yik Yak Biddy Whack..

..Give the dog a bone
This old biddy came rolling home.

For those of you who are old or have better things to do, Yik Yak is an app which lets you post and read anonymous commentary.  It pings your location and you can see what people are yakking about in your general vicinity or snoop in on what people in other areas are talking about.  It's sort of like an anonymous twitter, with all the good and bad that encompasses.  According to various articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Yik Yak is causing all sorts of problems on some college campus.  Students have been using it to bully/harrass other students.  More recently, it was a huge problem in one class, with many of the students in this class spending more time yakking about how they hated having to be in class on Friday morning or posting hateful stuff about the professsors than they were probably spending actually paying attention to the class.  More than 100 comments were posted during the 3 hour class.
Intrigued, I downloaded Yik Yak to see if this sort of thing was going on here.  I was particularly curious to see if they were yakking about my boss, who is teaching a double lecture of second semester organic chemistry.  I glanced at it periodically to see what I would find out. 
It's not hugely popular here.  I noticed a variety of chemistry related yaks, mostly complimentary stuff about Prof. R., who is a senior lecturer and is hugely popular.  He's like their cool uncle.  Apparently he had read the same article as me, because he was giving them a hard time about yakking in class so they were yakking nice things about him. I didn't see any yaks about other chemistry profs.  The important topics of the day were...

1.  The weather
2.  More complaints about weather
3.  Complaints about hangovers, annoying roommates and tuition
4.  Odes to naps and sleeping in
5.  A heated discussion about the pros and cons of Canada Goose jackets
6.  Boners, especially ones spotted on other people
7.  The dude who accidentally opened up porn on his phone or computer in math class
8.  Making fun of other people or themselves for not wearing proper footwear in the snow
9.  Asking for love/sex advice

So really, the kids are alright.  I can see how it would become a problem in some instances, especially if it reaches critical mass and everyone starts using it, but all this hysteria over it kind of sounds like old people griping about kids these days.  I don't know if its bullying potential is that much worse than that of Twitter or Facebook.  Certainly, the little bit that I saw was a lot less threatening that a lot of the shit that went down on Gamergate or the typical trolls on the feminist websites I read. 
Thinking that maybe Cornell isn't typical, I then spied on my former neighborhood in Sunnyvale, my undergrad school, and a friend's university.  There was a lot of juvenile stuff, but nothing to worry about.  For those of you who teach or have kids, I'd be interested in knowing your take on it.
So you know what comes next, don't you..... I then found I was becoming weirdly addicted to it, so I deleted it.  I don't really need to know about the boner sightings or people slipping on the chem department steps, although now I'm wondering about those Canada Goose coats...

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