A Takeback in Action

Categories: Social Networking
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Published on: December 18, 2014

Earlier this month, I discussed sending teachers to social media to turn it into a positive environment and encourage responsible usage by students. This week, I learned professors at Colgate University did just that.

In the wake of protests surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a number of racist comments were appearing on the university’s local Yik Yak feeds. Biology professor Geoff Holm helped unify faculty efforts to counter this behavior, and 50 staff members took to Yik Yak with positive messages and encouragement to students.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my original post: they are bringing an element of humanity to their local Yik Yak feed and promoting socially acceptable use.

I’ve also been monitoring our Yik Yak feed, and I’ve forwarded a couple of problematic posts to our administration and guidance counselors for intervention. I’ve flagged a couple of posts as inappropriate, and downvoted a few more. However, I’ve also noticed there’s a little bit of self-policing going on. College students are shouting down the high schoolers abusing the service, and Yik Yak does have a policy for handling users whose posts are frequently flagged as inappropriate or are downvoted all the time.

Even if our local staff doesn’t jump on board, it’s possible the local Yakkers will police their own community and the behavior will solve itself. There are always going to be a few trolls hanging around, but hopefully their impact will be limited—or even eliminated—by the community itself.

Time will tell.

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