Monday, May 11, 2015

URSP Student Christina Gabriele Researches the Potential Negative Threats of Yik Yak on George Mason University Students

The first time I heard about Yik Yak was from a friend. They showed me the application and scrolled through some of the posts that had originated from people at George Mason University. I was looking at an anonymous, uncensored thought bubble for the university all based on the geographical location of cell phones. Intrigued, I downloaded the application and proceeded to contribute to the growing conversation.

As a young adult, I know that social media will continue to play a significant role in my life. Regardless of the type of career or position within that career, social media has infiltrated all aspects of the working world. My research is unique and I want to contribute to the academic literature by being the first person to study this application. Additionally, this research will help me further my education by increasing my appeal to graduate schools. This research project places me one step above my peers in the application process.

The unique thing about my project is that social media it is so omnipresent that I can build on my work every day. During the week I normally open Yik Yak to see what students are posting and if there are any negative trends. I review my survey and try to make sure that it is asking the right questions. My goal is to explore the potential negative threats of Yik Yak on George Mason University students.

This week, after reviewing my data and speaking with my mentor, I discovered that frequency of negative behaviors needs to be included in my survey. In my pilot survey I was only asking if participants had seen different forms of intimidating or threatening behavior. In order to improve my survey I need to evaluate the frequency at which students are being exposed to these behaviors. Is this an hourly, daily, weekly or infrequent occurrence? Frequency will help me evaluate the severity of the problem if there is one.