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A Few Words of Caution About Using Yik Yak

I'm writing this post for several reasons, one of which is that I was recently interviewed by a student at American University about how technology influences faith. Particularly, what are the costs and benefits of utilizing technology (especially social media) for communicated about the Gospel. I won't get into all the details, but it got me thinking how easy it is for me to compartmentalize different areas of my life — and I feel that technology is so embedded in all we do, it is probably the area we examine the least. 

And I also want to put this out there, there are just a few things that I'm processing. You don't have to come up with the same conclusions and I am certainly not saying that everyone that uses this app needs to delete it. All that I'm asking is that we intentionally consider what technologies we use and how we use them, as followers of Jesus. 

Okay, here goes. 

Looks innocent, right? 

And very design-y, if I say so myself. I love playing basketball and sometimes, I need someone extra to join a game of 3-on-3. Maybe this app would solve that conundrum! (I'm not just talking randomly about basketball, the first message in the picture above is about that). 

However, is this the type of message that get's shared and shown to others? I should probably mention at this point that I don't use Yik Yak. But I see their sponsored tweets several times a day (anyone else?) and I can safely say that most people use this service in a different way than their promotional images imply. 

Let's look at this passage of Scripture. You might be reading this and wonder why I brought up the Bible — I'm not trying to pull a blogging Jesus Juke but instead, remind myself (and all of us) that the Bible should be our final authority. Which means, we must seek to understand culture from the framework of the Bible instead of the other way around. 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV 

With the rise of cyberbullying and the danger of being able to broadcast to a huge audience while remaining anonymous, I'm nervous that this app provides a chance for us to lean into gossip (which we're supposed to avoid). Even if you or I have the app and use it for good (like money, most of technology is amoral) - I know that making temptation more accessible has never proven beneficial for my spiritual life.

The only other thing I would add, is that if most people are using this in a way that is not uplifting to those around them, perhaps us as followers of Jesus not using it will make a bigger impact than trying to use it well.

Like in most cases, freedom allows us to err on the side of set-apartedness (holiness). We get to choose right-living (righteousness). Does it cost us? Yes. But it's worth it, IMHO. 

P.S. This post was inspired by something I shared on social media awhile back from a blogger known as Pastor Duncan when SnapChat became popular.