I am Abi, and I’m addicted to Yik Yak. It’s a staple on my home screen – an honourable achievement when faced with competition over my phone’s pitiful 8GB memory, with my yakarma growing in inverse proportion to my revision notes. With smart technology enabling continuous internet access, we’ve gained the ability to document every second of our lives, and lost a lot of our privacy. It can sometimes be overwhelming to have to process constant updates on the lives of everyone you’ve ever encountered.
I FIND THE KINDNESS OF OTHER YAKKERS INCREDIBLY TOUCHING
There’s then the added pressure to update everyone on your own life, just so you can prove that you’re a super-interesting person who doesn’t spend your whole time in bed watching Netflix. The unique appeal of Yik Yak is the anonymity. Sometimes it’s embarrassing stories, or gripes about lecturers or friends. For me, and a lot of other yakkers, it’s often centred around mental health. Mental illness can often be the elephant in the room when Uni is supposed to be the best time of your life. Sometimes what you need in the moment is just to be able to get those niggling negative thoughts out. It’s not an immediately obvious use of the app, but anonymity provides the freedom to feel able to immediately share personal struggles.
Aside from the catharsis from ‘getting it out there’, I find the kindness of other yakkers incredibly touching. Most days, yaks will appear about feeling depressed, asking for advice about anxiety, or seeking answers to various personal dilemmas. These yaks gather comments full of helpful recommendations and supportive messages. In the isolating fog of mental illness, those few kind words from a stranger can make a real difference, especially on those days where it’s impossible to summon the emotional energy to seek out a friend to talk to in person. The anonymity of Yik Yak has helped me to reach out without the fear of judgement which other social media platforms encourage. It’s a reminder that people can be genuinely caring, and that we’re all weirdos with embarrassing stories to tell and awkward questions to ask.