yik yak

unnamedNeosense Word: n.  A social media platform where William and Mary students post jokes about Reveley, witty comments about the goings on around campus, and disparaging remarks about UVA.

General Denotation: n. A social media app where people can post anonymously and view conversations in a five mile radius.

Etymology: The app was first released in November 2013. The ‘yak’ in the term ‘yik yak’ refers to the animal.

Sociolectal Information: Currently talked about quite frequently among students; it is popular to share funny posts that you have seen on yik yak with your friends. It is a buzzword on campus. Professors have been known to post on the site, and the administration may have some awareness of it, but by far the majority of the time that the term ‘yik yak’ is used, it is used by the student population.

Survival Predictions: The William and Mary yik yak feed is currently being constantly updated and posted on. It is predicted to last for at least the next few years. It is yet to be determined whether or not it will have the staying power that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seem to possess. It is unique in a number of ways from those other social media platforms, including that posters are anonymous, posts disappear after some time has passed, and users can “upvote” and “downvote” posts that they either like, or dislike, respectively. The long term future of this app will most likely be determined on whether or not people will gradually lose interest or whether or not another, better app, will replace this one in popularity. Currently, it is mostly used on college campuses.

Lexopinions: Yik yak is a fun app, and a great source of comic relief. It is also a good topic of conversation among friends, and brings to mind many funny comments about William and Mary. It can also be extremely useful- it can clue people in to the things that are happening around campus, and give information about why there are emergency vehicles around, or why everyone is talking about that one professor. However, the fact that it updates quite frequently and allows you to scroll through all of the various posts for a long while means that it can also be a time suck and a distraction. Additionally, the term “yik yak” is not pleasing to the ears; both words sound like someone throwing up, but in a vaguely comical way. Yik Yak has also been used as a way for people to anonymously support those in the community who are struggling with things like stress and depression.

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