Anonymous social media is picking up steam at the University of the South Dakota. Apps such as Yik Yak and FADE are allowing students to post anonymously to message boards, opening the door for more student interaction as well as hostility between social groups.
Even university faculty are getting in on the action. Shane Semmler, an associate professor of communication studies at USD, studies Yik Yak. The app allows users within a short range to post text similar to the idea of a tweet on Twitter.
“I use it to take the emotional temperature of my students and see what’s going on in their lives,” Semmler said.
Some of the action is not always nice.
Sophomore Diego Marquez is another user of the app. Marquez experienced hostility on Yik Yak first-hand. During the ‘Yotes Got Talent event and Dakota Days royalty revealing ceremony, Marquez was targeted on Yik Yak for his accent.
“There were a couple of comments just making fun of the way I spoke,” Marquez said.
Semmler said he tries to ignore the negative things said on Yik Yak, though he knows they are present.
The negativity, Marquez said, affects the university as a positive learning environment.
“With the whole diversity thing upstairs (MUC room 219), we’re trying to get diversity and the whole university to come together and work as one,” he said. “We’re all college students, I get. It’s a stupid app, whatever. But, we’re all one giant family. We shouldn’t be bashing on each other.”
However, Marquez does see some positives in the app.
“With respect to bashing on people, I think it’s calmed down a lot,” he said. “And sometimes it’s good to get the word out on different events that are happening around campus.”
First-year Drake Burnison does not hold Yik Yak in high regard.
“Yik Yak is a horrible idea,” Burnison said. “It can be very misleading to the common user.”
Semmler sees the app in a positive light, saying it gives him something that both he and students can relate to.
“It would be a missed opportunity for me to have something in common with students,” Semmler said on if there was no Yik Yak.