The Rise of Yik Yak

Bored @ Baker could be facing some competition.

Bored @ Baker could be facing some competition.

“Drinking rum before noon makes you a pirate not an alcoholic.”

“Contrary to what Ill Fayze may believe, by mid-November we will actually all be living in coats.”

“Please pray for Brown. Nothing happened, but people still go there.”

A tried and true Dartmouth student might recognize these comical quips as the brainchild of a peer using the controversial staple of Dartmouth procrastination known as Bored @ Baker (often abbreviated as “b@b”). That person, however, would be wrong. New to the Dartmouth social media scene, particularly among the class of 2018, is Yik Yak. This app, first released in 2013, allows users to post anonymous messages viewable only within a certain area. It is primarily used among college students across the nation, as the relatively small area occupied by most college campuses ensures that most people posting to Yik Yak are students of the university.

This new platform is now entering a market already dominated by Bored@Baker, which has become particularly popular at Dartmouth since being launched at Columbia in 2006. More recently, Bored@Baker has drawn a negative reputation for a variety of reasons, including the infamous ‘rape guide’ published on the site earlier this year. Those most critical of Dartmouth’s fraternities, so-called ‘hookup culture,’ and inadequacies at addressing sexual assault will certainly not take posts such as “tonight, ethical to prey on b****** who didn’t get bids cuz they’ll be emotionally vulnerable as shit and need validation?” with a grain of salt. Part of what contributes to the site’s ongoing negative perception is limited rules; the site only bans posts that reveal identifiable information, convey egregious hate speech, or constitute spam. Otherwise, posts cannot be deleted, regardless of the public’s view on said message.

It is largely for this reason, that Yik Yak may have some room to grow in the Hanover market. Because posts can be easily reported by any user and deleted, it is perceived to be far more responsible and reasonable than the forums at its rival. Furthermore, if a post receives negative five “downvotes” (a feature essentially equivalent to “disagrees” on b@b), it is permanently deleted. This particular feature, which does not exist in any form on b@b, helps propagate this ‘niceness’ by ensuring that posts found wholly disagreeable or disparaging by the general public are deleted. This, coupled with its more easily accessible phone app form (which b@b has been unable to match), ensures that Yik Yak is inherently more user-friendly than its counterpart.

It seems as though, for now, Yik Yak may not have triumphed against Dartmouth’s longtime anonymous forum, but it has certainly made significant strides. 18s in particular seem to embrace the safer, friendlier atmosphere of the app over the classic website. With an eye towards the future, Yik Yak seems to be on the up and up.