The latest app to take the Occidental student body by storm has everybody yakkin’; Yik Yak, an anonymous online message board that showcases user-submitted posts in a real-time live stream, has taken campus by storm. The app curates “Yaks” by showing only posts written within a mile and a half radius of the user. For Occidental students, this distance encompasses all 120 acres of campus and much of the surrounding Eagle Rock neighborhood.
Yik Yak’s growing popularity with the student body places it in direct opposition to Oxy Confessions, a popular Facebook page that similarly allows users to submit anonymous messages. There have been several posts on both platforms arguing which is better than the other. Although Oxy Confessions has been around longer, Yik Yak’s many innovative features give it a clear leg up over its competition.
Unlike Facebook, which only has a “like” button, Yik Yak gives users the option to vote either up or down on posts. This functions as the app’s filtering system; if a post is popular, it goes onto the “Hot” page where the best posts are sorted by number of votes. On the other hand, if a post receives a score of negative five, it is deleted from the app entirely.
Yik Yak also has a built-in sharing feature designed for optimal social media integration. Clicking the “share” button automatically generates a meme-like image of any Yak, that can then be shared on any social media platform and streamlines the ability for a post to go viral.
One aspect of Oxy Confessions that has remained largely absent from Yik Yak has been the ability to facilitate intellectual dialogue. The political, philosophical and sociological discussions present in many comments on Oxy Confessions aren’t maintainable on Yik Yak due to its 200 character limit.
Yik Yak naysayers, however, are quick to point out the divide in user populations between the two platforms. While Oxy Confessions holds, and always will hold, a special place in the hearts of upperclassmen, Yik Yak is the medium of choice for new students. Posts about touching the gross Braun shower curtains and the trials of writing the most recent CSP paper abound on Yik Yak. Oxy Confessions still largely references the concerns of returning students, such as forging signatures on graduation applications and anger at the Cooler ending its pizza delivery service.
I initially abhorred Yik Yak and its first-year-centric posts. I even made a Facebook post about it with the hashtag “#TeamOxyConfessions” to show my allegiance to the webpage. But over time I found myself checking Yik Yak more and more. The app’s real-time updating feature allowed for immediate gratification, with new content appearing at a moment’s notice. This contrasts sharply with Oxy Confessions, which abides by a strict once-a-day schedule.
Today, I would consider myself a full-fledged Yik Yak convert. The posts I have seen on the app eclipse those on Oxy Confessions both in quantity and quality. Does this mean the end of Oxy Confessions is nigh? No—the two mediums can exist simultaneously. Whether you’re #TeamYikYak or #TeamOxyConfessions, I think we can all agree that college is much more interesting since these platforms came into our lives.