We have written plenty in the past about the problematic anonymous app Yik Yak – from cyberbullying to teacher baiting to school threats. We even wrote about Yik Yak possibly manipulating users’ posts. Today, however, we’re going to highlight a real life example of something more positive that happened on Yik Yak. (Here’s the other feel-good Yik Yak story we covered).
The word “upstander’, the opposite of bystander, has been creeping into the lexicon of late, and usually refers to people who witness cyberbullying and step in to stop it or help the victim. It’s a very positive gesture in a society that is increasingly moving online, and taking some very bad behavior with it. We applaud the upstanders.
Can the term upstander refer to people who step in to help someone who is threatening self-harm? We think so.
Check out the Yik Yak thread on the right, posted this week in our area, which happens to be well within the radius of the local high school, Hunterdon Central in New Jersey (Yik Yak by default shows all posts within a 1.5 to 10 mile radius of you).
If we assume it was a high school student (we think it was), you can see that the replies are overwhelmingly positive. The other teens, whoever they are, were making a genuine attempt to offer support and help.
Yes, Yik Yak is home to a lot of bad behavior, but it’s not all bad. In this case it’s very good. You might also notice that in the middle of the thread, someone made a negative comment or two. It/they no longer appear because they literally got downvoted into oblivion, which is the way Yik Yak works in a perfect world. Positive (or funny or interesting) posts and comments get upvoted; negatives get downvoted.
Much of social media can be used for bad; all of it can be good in the hands of well intentioned users. Spread the word, at the dinner table or in your community.
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