Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Seo Young Park

Reader 2

Elizabeth Affuso

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© 2023 Georgia F Bates


Offering access to an expanded world of contacts, activities, and self-expression, the internet has been changing the traditional landscape of the college experience for nearly two decades. The manner in which students interact with the world around them is augmented and transformed by the affordances of digital social networks like Yik Yak, an anonymous, hyperlocal networking app that has found its main market on college campuses. A hybrid ethnographic approach to Yik Yak based on participant observation and in-depth interviews spanned from Fall 2021 to Spring 2023, engaging with concepts of place and affect as they were intertwined with student use of the app in relation to the search for community. Yik Yak’s hyperlocal, anonymous infrastructure and student’s social desires intermeshed to create an informal participatory culture of conflict and care geared toward producing affect and effects in the student community. Both on- and offline, the connections associated with Yik Yak were broadly ephemeral—defined by a desire to participate in the general student community rather than a commitment to personal relationships. Student experiences manifested the tension between anonymity and hyperlocality, with this form of community participation being further defined by lines of difference.