If you have a smartphone and keep up with social media, you’ve probably already heard of the app “Yik Yak.” Released in November 2013, the app is basically anonymous Twitter – you can post whatever you want without ever having to put your name to the “Yak.” The app lists all the yaks within a 10-mile radius so you can see what other people near you are yakking about.
I recently downloaded the app and read through a lot of the yaks that people in Huntington were posting. Most of them were about the university. Some of them were clever. Most of them were downright disturbing.
I deleted the app less than a day after downloading it.
Most of the content that was being posted was explicit and was cyber-bullying on steroids. Among the several yaks that called out several floors on campus for engaging in homosexual activities, several posted about wanting sexual encounters at the fountain or in the freshman parking lot. I hope that most of them were only joking, but if you read through them during “Davis Hall Follies,” you get a sense of just how cruel and honest people can be.
Some people have said “Yik Yak” will destroy our campus community and Christ-like atmosphere. Ironically, some of them posted these thoughts on the app.
But here’s what we all need to realize. We are a community of students, but we are not a community of believers. This is a place of higher learning full of students from diverse backgrounds – whether that’s financially, racially or spiritually. Not everyone on campus is a Christian and not everyone treats others the way Christ would. Not everyone earns those 30 chapel credits with a loving spirit. Not everyone can easily pass “Understanding the Christian Faith.”
In a way, this is O.K. The real world is not Christian and certainly does not treat others well on “Yik Yak.” But this is the world we live in – a broken, sinful, hateful world. We cannot deny it. Sooner or later, we are going to graduate and leave this comfortable college atmosphere and realize just how disgusting people can be. This is real life, and “Yik Yak” puts sin in the limelight.
Did we really need a stupid iPhone app to tell us that not everyone here thinks that Christ is at the center of this university?
If anything, “Yik Yak” teaches us that this community needs Jesus Christ just like any other school community. The world is a sinful place – whether through an app or through real life – and a Christian education cannot hide this fact. “Yik Yak” is not going to tear this community apart. Sin, in general, will destroy any community, any loving relationships that seek to live out Christ’s calling.
A simple app may have just burst the “Huntington bubble.” May we humbly and earnestly respond with the love and compassion of Christ.
Jared Huhta is a senior history education major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column reflects the views of the writer only.