YikYak Dating Service Announcement Met with Controversy: A bridge too far for the anonymous comment page?

By November 13, 2017 No Comments

By Jacob Hartley

Shocking news from the anonymous complaint and social commentary Facebook page, YikYak ScPo Reims, broke Sunday evening when the platform announced that a new dating service, would be launched by the group. While the news surprised many students, it brought a sigh of relief to others. Run by an unknown group of individuals who only appear in occasional posts and comments, this group has been referred to as “the people behind the curtain” of all drama and social matters concerning the Reims campus.

The new service, which will not be anonymous, unlike the method for YikYak submissions, is advertised as a medium for finding “the love of your life, a date to Sky Ball, or just another Sciences Piste to hook up with.”  The idea has received notable attention, especially since it is being compared to the popular dating app Tinder.

Students have had mixed reactions to the announcement, ranging from outright disdain to measured excitement.

Out of the ten students who responded to requests for comment (forty-three students were contacted in total), only one of the respondents said that she would be signing up for the service, stating “it’s basically just an Intra-SciencesPo Tinder anyways” and she sees no harm intended. Other students, like Sarah Zhang, Euram 1A, see this as a “pragmatic solution to the often thirsty anonymous confessions” and hopes that the service will bring people together who “would never talk to [each other] otherwise.”

Zhang’s hopeful but cautiously optimistic tones are shadowed by a multitude of students who simply see this as a social experiment that could potentially “crash and burn,” according to one second year Euram student who wished to stay anonymous. He also noted that his instinct leads him to believe that since “posts (are) very often about the same people,” the participants will be a very small group of individuals.

Alex Goth, a first year Euram, is worried “how it will manifest” because it could result in the “perpetuation of the more admired people on campus getting most of the attention.” Furthermore, Goth added and that the service will “exacerbate the November breakdown and continue the drought especially for non-anglophone and francophone backgrounds, and queer-identifying Sciences Pistes.” Goth conceded that, despite his criticisms, he believes “YikYak will run this in an appropriate manner.”  

The YikYak page’s announcement message said that the form for matching applicants would be “inclusive,” signaling a nod to those with reservations about the fairness of the service.

Other students see other major problems with the idea, besides inclusivity. In a half-joking manner, Euram second year student Isabelle Alethia Ava-Pointon stated that that the new service is “a wild idea and could go wrong in many ways.”

Similar opinions are held by other students, like Erlend Skaug Ingebrigtsen, Euram 1A, who believes that the idea is taking “the somewhat existing immaturity here (on campus) to the next level.” However, Ingebrigtsen believes that “people ought to do what they want to do” as it pertains to their personal lives. Ava-Pointon took a more humorous and even optimistic view, stating that “at least we will get some hilarious stories out of it.”

But it is not all fun and games for some, as news of the service was met with some damning reactions. First year student Matilde Echeverri holds steady in her disdain of this idea and explained, “it is really sad that in such a small university we have resorted to dating services in order to find a significant other.” She believes that “relationships should be spontaneous” and “not rely on dating services.” Echeverri fears this will turn into a Tinder-esque way of finding people, which according to her “is not the way to do it.” She still believes people should “do what they wish,” and encouraged people to meet face-to-face and talk to one another.

Another second year Euram student who wishes to stay anonymous, added a pointed and direct comment as he maintained that “this scenario has nothing positive about it” and believes that the service will turn into “a sex-crazy playground that will ruin relationships and reputations.” This student noted that they “have a concern for the community” and do not wish to see “friendships ruined… even if people do seem complicit with allowing others to “do what they wish.”

With a multitude of dissenting opinions and very few interested in enrolling, the success of the service is not yet known. Controversial as the matter is, it is still unknown how much time the page’s administrators will need to process the forms and create matches. While this is an attempt to cure students’ desire to meet other people, YikYak may be missing the mark, as evidenced by the lack of excitement.

YikYak ScPo Reims had not responded to requests for comment as of the time of publication.

The form to sign up for the service will be open from Monday, Nov. 13 at 8:00 p.m. and close at  11:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Photo: “YikYak ScPo Reims” Facebook page

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