Listening In On And Making Sense of the NASPA Yik Yak Backchannel at #NASPA15 #YY15

As someone who researches social media and the higher education environment, it is rare that I come across an example of something that points the microscope inwards towards the behaviors, actions, thoughts and attitudes of higher education and student affairs professionals themselves.  At the NASPA conference this year, that exact thing happened.  (It also happened at other professional conferences this year, but none as big… nor reported on…)

After viewing some of the comments posted to the social media app Yik Yak (an anonymous geo-location commenting tool), the Chronicle of Higher Education posted this article pointing out some of the comments being posted during the conference. (You may want to read the comments section of the article itself as they are perhaps as or more interesting than the article itself.)

This in turn prompted NASPA to release a brief statement:


Reactions to this have been interesting… for a myriad of reasons.  There are many angles one could take in understanding this whole situation, but at a minimum I think this entire episode highlights the following questions for me:

  • What conversations are happening and what conversations aren’t happening?
  • Who is participating in these conversations and who isn’t participating in these conversations?
  • What conversations are suppressed and what conversations are privileged?
  • And, moving forward, what conversations need to happen?

A lot of layers to explore!

UPDATED (4/9/2015)

Curated lists of primary source yaks, tweets, and comments:

HigherEdLive Episode dedicated to the topic:

Some blog post reactions to the situation from others:

News and other opinion articles:

Original Yaks after the publication of the Chronicle article:

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