When a child goes to college, parents can learn a lot. For example, I hadn’t known about one of the latest social media rages until my son told me about some comments another student had made on YikYak.

yikyakYik what?

YikYak is an app, much like Twitter (though you get 200 characters instead of 140), but it’s GPS-localized so that you only see the “Yaks” going on around you — and it’s anonymous, so users can say what they want without much fear of repercussions.

About the only things the site screens out are phone numbers, so hateful, racist, and vulgar comments get posted alongside things intended to be more uplifting. That can be dangerous. The app was designed with a college audience in mind, so when the developers learned that high schoolers were using it to cyberbully their classmates, they started implementing “geofences” around middle schools and high schools so the app won’t work there. Good for them.

Yakkers can “upvote” or “downvote” comments in their area, expressing approval or disapproval of what others are saying. An interesting feature allows users to “peek” at what’s being said in other places, mainly college campuses. So, even from home, I can see what’s being yakked about at Campbell University.

Last night, most of the comments were about the football game, a theft of thongs in Day Hall, and a fight that was supposed to happen behind Barker Hall at 10:30 p.m. I didn’t stay up to see if it went down.

This morning, someone was actually happy with the food: “Breaking New: Marsh was exceptionally good today.” Four people upvoted the comment. Gripes are more common, however. Maintenance folk and recruiters drive modified golf carts to get around campus more quickly. Someone posted “They drive these golf carts like it’s the daytona 500 (expletive).” Another poster was unhappy with her housing partner: “My roomate is dirty and nasty and I’m tired of telling her to clean up! Today is the last straw, enough is enough!”

Occasionally someone makes an attempt at cleverness: “I tried to grab fog, but I mist.” Twenty-five people liked that one. Others offer advice, like “If you find a girl attractive, tell her. There is a good chance that she won’t be hearing that from anyone else today.” Nineteen people approved of that. Sadly, the most popular post of the morning, with 35 “upvotes,” was this: “everybody complainin bout the wifi football team and cu being pushy about religion and im over here like … where did all the (expletive) gnats come from?”

Just for fun, I peeked at what’s being said at a few other schools. I thought it would be helpful to compare Gardner-Webb, but apparently no one is yakking there, unlike East Carolina University, where there’s a new yak every few seconds. I can’t repeat many of them, but several are along the lines of “Just because you’re on a bicycle doesn’t mean you own the sidewalk. (expletive).” Food is also popular. Three people upvoted “Einstein’s Bacon Egg n Cheese Bagel,” and eight folks liked “The Krusty Krab pizza is the pizza for you and me.” I don’t know where you can buy that.

I discovered that students at Georgia Tech tend to write longer yaks and are more likely to use complete sentences, though punctuation still lacks. Last night students were making noise about a mandatory session on alcohol and drug awareness for Greek students — at which the officer who spoke also passed out koozies just the right size for beer cans.

Apparently some folks imbibed on “thirsty Thursday”: “You know it was a rough night when only 10 of the 200 kids in your class show up.” Another was happy for week’s end: “I think im in love … with Fridays …”

Down at Mercer, an unhappy morning student wrote “western civ makes me wanna shoot myself.” Another complained “Will someone please do something about the rotting animal by the student clinic?” Apparently, some students are doing more than attending classes: “Our first sleepover and he elbows me in the face not once but three times!” But, another student tried to improve the feed with “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”

At the University of Georgia there are lots of complaints about the campus bus system, especially on Fridays, and at least one person who wonders why he or she chose college over another option: “So this is it. I sold my soul for this? Washed my hands of that for this? I miss my mom and dad for this?”

By now, some folks reading this post may be thinking: “I gave up five minutes of my life to read this?” (expletive).

But if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have learned how to eavesdrop on what’s happening at your college student’s school — or that Krusty Krab pizza is the pizza for you and me.

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