Today’s youth—people from the ages of ten to about twenty five—are supposed to be part of the most gifted generation the planet has ever seen. We have so much at our disposal; we have everything from news, TV shows, professional sports and especially other people all at our fingertips. With the advent and incredible widespread use of social media, Generation Z might be the most socially gifted group of youngsters in history as well. We can reach someone across the world with an internet connection and a web device, and at the same time, we can anonymously insult our friends with the click of a button without facing any repercussions. While you may think this is all fine and dandy, social media has made us into our worst nightmares: antisocial beings who are fooled into thinking that what they are doing is actually an adequate substitute for human interaction.
You all probably know what Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are by this point in your college careers. If you do not, then, stop reading this and go find out. The aforementioned applications aim to simulate a room filled with all the people you were ever friendly with in your life and promote a virtual environment of interaction. Some people can spend hours on these sites without any contact with a real human being. Quite frankly I find that disturbing.
If there is one thing I like about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, it is that you can be held accountable to what you say (as long as your account is legitimate) and you, more often than not, know who you are interacting with. Thus, this brings me to Yik Yak.
Yik Yak is an application that is available on most smartphone platforms that basically is like an anonymous Twitter. The posts are filtered by the location at which they were published in and the users of the app can either “vote up” their favorite comments, or “vote down” the ones they do not like. What irks me about this whole process is that although it helps people vent their frustrations, it is entirely anonymous. This means that you can literally write anything about anyone. I find that when something like expressing yourself becomes so easy, the effort that you put into actually putting those sentiments into verbiage becomes minimal.
When someone had a problem in the past, they would just talk about it with the people they know and trust. The internet or any third party application that allows anonymous posts might be a way to let off some steam, but does it really solve anything? No, absolutely not. If anything, it just delays the inevitable collapse. When you are stuck in a hole, you need to take the hands of those close to you and rely on their help to get you out.
If you find yourself romantically interested in a certain someone, do not just post about them on Yik Yak or even Stony Brook Admirers, go tell them how you feel! Honestly, you only have one life to live. You have to go live it through the actual human interactions that you have the opportunity to experience in your time existing on this planet. As a generation, we need to stop hiding behind screens and go say and do things that will actually matter in our lives.