Yik Yak, a free, self-described “anonymous gossip app” was launched last year, initially aimed at college students. However, it has since caught on with high schoolers and even younger kids. Just like Twitter, users can post brief blurbs, or “yaks.” The app is location-based, so the yaks a user sees are those within a specific geographical radius.
As a strong believer in healing through healthy conversation, I find this app is anything but healthy. Rather, it’s simply another opportunity for people who are afraid to say what needs to be said directly to the individual to throw another under the bus.
The app has become a platform for spreading gossip, lies and general bullying. The community of yakkers can “upvote” or “downvote” a yak, and if enough downvotes are cast, the yak will disappear. But the damage has already been done. As Mark Twain famously stated, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Before any of us say or post anything on any social media platform, it would be wise to stop and ask ourselves, “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” That quote, by the way, is often misattributed to the Buddha, yet another example of the power of social media – and the internet in general – in spreading inaccuracies. Those three powerful questions are actually the title of a poem by Mary Ann Pietzker, published in 1872, once again proving, as wonderful as new technology can be, sage advice never grows old.
So rather than anonymously post your opinions, better to speak your truth. Have a real, one-on-one conversation with the source. It’s the only way you really will get closer to not just your truth, but theirs as well.