A major complaint about my generation is the lack of ability to socialize face to face. There are arguments that today’s youth are so stuck in their phones that they are unable to interact with others, thus eliminating their communication skills, as well as sometimes ending a sense of community they have with the world around them.
In direct combat with this argument, my generation has provided multiple platforms for socializing. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr provide pseudo communities for my generation, allowing us to share life stories, pictures and thoughts in the same way our grandparents did at churches. Our sense of community might arguably be deeper now, as evidence by the #Blacklivesmatter movement, and the national support it gained all via Twitter.
In college, our sense of community is often based specifically on our location and our experiences on campus. Clubs and other extracurriculars offer smaller forms of communities, but in terms of pseudo socialization, the app Yik Yak provides a campus wide sense of Hofstra Pride and camaraderie.
Yik Yak, which has a feed based forum, similar to Twitter, provides anonymous opinions relevant to college students, and Hofstra students in particular. Yik Yak allows for free, albeit stupid, conversation related to Hofstra Cat sightings, unnecessary usage of sprinkler systems, Hofstra vs Zombies, and, much more commonly, relationships problems and illegal alcohol consumption. Most of the content is relevant only to college students, with constant jokes relating to tuition and excessive amounts of Ramen Noodles.
The real question is, does Yik Yak actually provide a sense of community for its participants, or is it another example of my generation losing its ability to socially interact?
I would argue that all of these social media platforms, while offering a false socialization, do indeed provide the sense of community and social interaction necessary for human life. While media, and its effects on humans, is a fairly new concept, apps like Yik Yak provide an open place for Hofstra students to relate to their peers, even if anonymously. This connection is vital, and not all the different from the relationships people had at church groups many decades ago.