Pretty please with a cherry on top, stop putting any posts into the Optimist that come from the social media sensation “Yik Yak.”
You’re not helping anybody, you’re not representing our students well, and you’re certainly not “reporting” when you put Yaks into the paper, regardless of whether they are good, bad or ugly. Speaking for our campus, the app has done nothing but harm our students in very real ways, emotionally and spiritually. We now have the ability to hide behind our phones in complete anonymity and spread vile rumors about people with no fear of backlash or retribution, and it is a concept that terrifies me. Without the accountability of a username beside the things that we decide to post, these little verbal grenades will keep getting lobbed until we’re in an all-out war with each other, and the shrapnel will continue to needlessly devastate lives and reputations.
Of course, I’m speaking generally here, and the burden to alleviate the destruction that our generation inflicts on itself via sites and concepts like Yik Yak does not fall squarely on the shoulders of the Optimist. Also, I’m not accusing you of cyber-bullying directly, as the Yaks that I’ve seen published have been incredibly mild compared to some of the stuff that is actually on the site. But what kind of precedent does it set, what kinds of situations are you enabling, and what kind of model for discourse are you encouraging when you, a traditionally respected publication, post words from a site that is inherently without any sources? As the current and aspiring journalists that I look forward to seeing in my Sunday papers after we all graduate, you are expected to put forth honest information. Isn’t the concept of journalism centered around the championing of the truth? Publishing anonymous Yaks is the farthest thing from that. That encourages sensationalism and gossip, and I’ll not see it continue. If you want that, go get a job at “TMZ” or something.
Look, I know the idea was that you want to stay relevant, and I know the concept was the same as with the tweet section (which I love, by the way… stay tuned for some super hilarious things that @BrainOfJake says this year). I just want you to think this one through a little bit more. We don’t need this garbage level of discourse encouraged any more than it is. It’s deadly to our atmosphere here, and if there’s anything that I can say about the Optimist, it’s that you all have so much power when it comes to shaping the atmosphere on campus… more than you may realize.
I love the Optimist, I love its tradition, and I think you are all fantastic, hard workers that provide an excellent service to the students here. But I wouldn’t be doing my job as a fellow human and Wildcat if I didn’t expect absolute excellence from you. I’d like you to do the same for me, and I’d like you to do the same for each other there in the office. Maybe then we can all rid ourselves of degenerative things like Yik Yak, and people will see that something is different about the people that come from the ACU community.
Jake Hall is a senior education major from Springtown.