Is Yakking Wack?

yik-yak-web-logoPosting anonymously seems so appealing to so many…especially with young people. An anonymous posting app that seems to be taking over college campuses in my area is Yik Yak. Yakking what used to defined as someone who wouldn’t stop talking is now defined as posting on an anonymous app.

What does Yik Yak have to offer?

Yik Yak gives its users the opportunity to post anonymously but what makes it so popular? After a yak is posted other users can up or down vote the Yak, if a Yak gets more than 2 down votes is reported, or screenshotted and sent to Yik Yak it disappears from the main feed. Users can also reply to Yaks anonymously of course. The app allows you to see what people near you are posting but you can also look up a location and see what people are posting there (this is known as peeking.) This is one of the most popular  Yik Yak features for students at my college campus.

Many people I have talked to like to catch up on campus gossip when they are away from campus for a couple hours or even for the weekend. The app has now also evolved into a website for those who cannot download the app on their phones.

Creators
Yik Yak creators Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll.

Yik Yak creators Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll.

The creators of Yik Yak are alumni of my college–Furman University (which is one of the reasons I believe that app is so big on my campus). Yik Yak was created by Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll. Both Buffington and Droll stopped pursuing their post-undergrad dreams to develop the app (let’s just say that was the right decision.) The app was created in November of 2013 and has since reached stardom.

Popularity

Three months after the creation of Yik Yak there were more than 100,000 users! The Buffington and Droll have claimed to already introduced the app to University of Georgia, Ole Miss, Clemson University, University of Virginia, Furman University and Wake Forest.

Controversy

As with any anonymous site the opportunity for bullying is high. Some students at my university have serious issues with the app and want it to be shut down. They aren’t the only ones, Yik Yak has received attention in many states across the U. S.. Yaks are often posted that are vile, rude, racist, sexist, and the list goes on. Many institutions are having talks about banning the app because of the trouble and bullying that comes along with the Yakking. While the app is designed specifically for college students high schoolers have become curious and irresponsible with the app. A student a San Clemente High School in Orange County, California posted bomb threat on Yik Yak and Yaks about school shootings were also posted in Mobile, Alabama and Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Buffington is reported saying, “It’s disheartening to see our app being used in an unintended way.” While Diana Graber of the Huffington Post reports that the creators are trying to regulate the site for its users, I still believe regulating anonymity is too difficult for anyone. While there is a huge looming controversy over the app it continues to reach new college campuses and increase in popularity. While the negatives might currently outweigh the positives the app is said to foster community on many college campuses. The app allows students to become aware of events and more on campus. As people in the video posted below will explain. Have a look!

Always,

Kayla

What’s All the Rave with Rating?

RateMyProfessors.com_Logo[1]In the modern world we seem to rely on ratings for a lot of things. Angie’s List, Rotten tomatoes, and even dating websites like eHarmony rate your compatibility to another person. Why does rating help us? The obvious, it gives us a wide variety of opinions on a particular subject that let’s us know whether the general public considers something good or bad. Rating seems like a fairly easy and harmless way to understand others’ opinions on a certain subject. Of course our opinions tend to be a bit harsher when we can rate anonymously. But what if we were to rate people?

What is Rate My Professors?

There is a real, live, working website that allows students to rate their professors anonymously. The website Rate My Professors is extremely popular among college students worldwide. The site gives students an enormous amount of power by the click of one button. Students can choose a professor to rate and each student’s individual rating is then taken and averaged into an overall rating. Students can rate on:

-Helpfulness

-Clarity

-Easiness

-Hotness (that’s right how attractive the professor is)

Each category including the average category is based on a scale of one to five (decimals are allowed). This point system is converted into a happy, average, or sad face icon.

The happy, average, and sad faces displayed on RateMyProfessor.com

The happy, average, and sad faces displayed on RateMyProfessors.com

You are also given the option to list what class you took with this professor as well as your grade in the course. But…not only can you rate the professor you can post comments about them! That’s right, comment. Rating anonymously tends to be a little shady as I’ve already explained and then you factor in commenting and it can get a bit mean. Watch this video of Professors from Lehigh University reading rude posts about themselves if you don’t believe me.

Creation and Development

Rate my professors was created in 1999 by a software engineer, John Swapceinski. The site originally started out as TeacherRatings.com and then morphed into RateMyProfessors.com in 2001. This site is used heavily in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Canada. The site contains over 8,000 schools and 1,000,000 plus ratings. (I’d say that’s a pretty powerful site).

What’s said?

As anyone can imagine some of the comments on Rate My Professors are extremely nice and thoughtful. While of course, others are down right vicious.

This is an example of one of the many rude comments and post on RateMyProfessors.com

This is an example of one of the many rude comments and post on RateMyProfessors.com

For example here is a screenshot of a comment about a professor at Furman University. Why is it that the viscous side in all of us tends to come out when become anonymous? Additionally, we all know not every personality coincides so some of the comments on the site could also be extremely biased based on few people’s opinions.

Is rating helpful?

As always rating things seems helpful because it easily makes you aware of others’ opinions. However, it might not be so helpful to the professor teaching the class. I can only imagine how hurt I would be if some of the things on RateYourProfessors.com were written about me. Recently the option has been added to the site for professors to rebuttal a post about themselves, which I believe, is an exceptional factor. I mean even the court systems believe you’re innocent until proven guilty, right? Sadly on this site the students are the ones with the benefits and professors are often the ones with the costs.

Always,

Kayla