By Clare Newman

BURLING LIBRARY— With the messianic return of YikYak to the app store and consequently to the Grinnell College campus for the first time since 2017, it’s easy to forget location-based-social-media-apps’ humble beginnings here in the 50112. Though its short life was cut even shorter by the evacuation of students from campus because of SARS-COV2,  third and fourth years may remember the advent of Grinnell-based social media app Bump™. One student, Archibald Kingfisher, sought out the journalistic genius of the B&S to tell his story. Kingfisher, class of 2022, is an Economics major with a European Studies concentration, and currently the only person still using Bump™. I met him on the left jungle gym in Burling Library, where he insisted we meet. He’s proudly sporting a “Keep Calm and HSSC Corn” t-shirt, the school issued KN95 mask, Laurel Leaf printed boxers, and nothing else. Speaking calmly and staring unblinkingly, he described BumpTM to me in detail. I was playing sudoku on my laptop and not paying attention because it was boring, so do not expect any information about how the app Bump™ worked.

“I mean, can you think of how great it would be to have all the conversations y’all’re having on YikYak, but not anonymous? Open YikYak, look at it, any of those conversations would be so much better on Bump™. There can be no doubt that posts like ‘Just farted in dhall lol’ would be more effective and conversations surrounding topics like ‘who want this grinnussy’ would be far more enlightening if they could continue in more substantial ways.” Kingfisher refuses to use YikYak. He does not even have it downloaded, and enthusiastically tells me this while showing me his phone, clad in a bright red Grinnell College case with matching pop-socket.

Kingfisher says “And yeah, it’s like, sure nobody else is using Bump™ right now, but I don’t think social media apps have to have multiple users to be effective. Just because all my posts in the Grinnell College True Superfans Facebook group get zero likes it doesn’t mean I’m not contributing positively to the conversation surrounding the chances that Grinnell Basketball will win the scoring title again.” When I asked if I could join the facebook group, Kingfisher lifted up his shirt to reveal a photorealistic tattoo portrait of Kumail Nanjiani’s face covering his entire stomach and politely informed me that unless I got a Kumail tattoo I wasn’t a true Superfan.

Though he’s a 4th year, his first question for me was what tutorial I had been in. Kingfisher was raised in Oak Park, Illinois but claims that his “true home” is Grinnell. Not the town, though. Grinnell College is his true home. Kingfisher has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Grinnell student discourse going back to the 1987 KDIC Manager Wars. “I heard someone in the Spencer Grille say that they were going to bring back the “Sporto is a Slur” discourse from 2018 and I lost it. I started flipping tables, I went full Martin Hawthorne in there. Oh? You don’t know who Martin Hawthorne is? He’s the Grinnellian record holder for bench press. Everybody knows that.” He continued by lamenting that Anne Harris did not have a snappy nickname like RayK, and shed a few tears while complaining that none of the first years believed his “West Campus used to exist but burned down in the 90s” theory anymore. Kingfisher encourages everyone to “go forth” and download Bump™ so that he can “finally make some friends,” as was promised on the posters that plastered campus in the fall of 2019. He opens his Pioneer Bookstore Grinnell branded folder and shows me one of those yellowed, crumpled flyers. “I found this in the dumpster behind the JRC,” he confides. “I keep it, to remind myself what I’m working towards.” 

*Note: the majority of Archibald Kingfisher’s interview could not be published in the B&S because of the paper’s “no squirrel jokes” policy; Kingfisher made squirrel jokes quite literally as often as humanly possible.