Everyone enters freshman year of college with a little bit of anxiety–you have to make new friends, eat from a cafeteria, find your classes, pass your classes, and adjust to an entirely new world. As if all of those things weren’t stressful enough, there was also College ACB, which was an anonymous forum where college students could, “vent, rant and talk to college peers in an environment free from social constraints and about subjects that might otherwise be taboo.” It also claimed to encourage “deep and thoughtful discussion.” L-O-L. It was the opposite of deep and thoughtful. Basically, students posted whatever they wanted about whoever they wanted. As a freshman, especially for girls, there was a fear of showing up on the website. People rated girls’ pledge classes, talked about who was ugly, and posted photos. It was entertaining in a twisted way, and luckily only lasted for my freshman year of college. Apparently, there’s a similar website now called Collegiate ACB, but I’ve never heard of anyone at UNC using it.
Instead…there’s Yik Yak.
Yik Yak is a relatively new app that was created for college students, and acts much like a message board, except there’s a 200- character limit. Users can post anonymous, tweet-like tidbits (called Yaks) about anything they want and anyone within a 1.5-mile radius can view the Yak. I personally have the app and enjoy reading it for a few laughs. It’s better than CollegeACB because you can “report Yaks,” which are then reviewed, and removed if they’re deemed inappropriate. At UNC, Yik Yak seems to be used most by members of Greek organizations, and many of the Yaks perpetuate stereotypes given to certain Greek houses. So far, I haven’t seen any traumatizing individual “call outs” on Yik Yak–it’s generally used for writing humorous things about college life. Also, they haven’t enabled media sharing, which is how they should keep it. Overall, I find Yik Yak to be a lot more harmless than CollegeACB, but maybe that’s just because I’m a senior now.