Surge <3s Yik Yak


It was recently brought to the Surge team’s attention that a post was made on the social media hub, Yik Yak, claiming that “Surge must hate Yik Yak.”

As a Surge editor and author, I want to clarify – nothing could be further from the truth.

Four years ago, as a bright-eyed high school senior eager to experience everything that Gettysburg would have to offer me the coming fall, I pictured myself sitting on the campus’s lush green lawns with a group of progressively like-minded people having deep philosophical discussions about the purpose of our education, the meaning of life, and how we were going to change the world. For my first three years, I was rather disappointed that these expectations went unfulfilled, but I’m ecstatic that finally, in my senior year, such an opportunity has been afforded to me, albeit not in the venue I expected.

Yik Yak has finally given me the opportunity to have these rich and interesting dialogues that I have yearned for. I guess I should have known that in this age of technology, these vital conversations were better suited for anonymous internet postings than face-to-face discussions. But now that Yik Yak has become so popular on our campus, I’ve been able to hear all of the incredible thoughts, opinions, and aspirations that have lain dormant in the brilliant minds of my peers all these years.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Yik Yak has revolutionized communication, valiantly defended our right to express ourselves freely, and bolstered democracy for all. This app is the epitome of free speech: Saying whatever you want about any topic without ever being held accountable for your opinions. The unrestricted cascade of ideas that flow from this fountain of knowledge include statements such as:

“Almost forgot what waking up sober is like”

“Not sure if that’s conditioner or semen on the shower floor”

“I was two girls away from a threesome last night.”

These are thoughts that have never crossed my mind. I have had epiphany after epiphany as I scroll through Yik Yak each day. Educators have been trying for centuries to make colleges a space for thought-provoking and meaningful discussions, and FINALLY in the form of this innovative app it has been achieved.

Not even the founders of Yik Yak could have envisioned its scholarly success. About the app, they said they “wanted to enable people to be really connected with the people around [them], even if you don’t know them. It’s like a virtual bulletin board, a hyper-local version of Twitter where people can use it to post information and everyone in the area can see it.”

The crucial local information that Yik Yak supplies could range from alerts about disasters and accidents, public service announcements, to posts asking for directions when lost in a new city, to even asking for recommendations for good restaurants.

“Crucial local information.” Just think how Yik Yak could have helped us if it had been around when that person threw those newspapers out of their vehicle.

Just as people now look back on the tearing down of the Berlin Wall or the unveiling of the iPhone as symbols of the optimism and change of those generations, in 20 years, we’ll likely be talking about the moment we downloaded Yik Yak as the beginning of something important.


Chelsea Broe ’14