Teens, Literacy, and Social Media

Teens and social media, two words that are never far apart. It doesn’t come as surprise then that social media is another way for teens to learn, share, and tpexels-photo-267350.jpegalk about books. This week, we were asked to research how teens are using social media to connect to books and other readers.

In my search, I found a couple great articles that tackle this issue. The first article I read was written by Karen Jensen, whom works in the teen department of a library, titled “Using Snapchat to Engage Teens at the Library“. She said she had noticed that few teens were following the library’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds and had asked them why. They had told her they didn’t think the content was relevant to them, therefore she decided to do something about it. In the article, she talks about using Snapchat as a way to be more engaged with teens. Since teens are on their Snapchat accounts anyway, she has found that it is a nice way to get the word out about upcoming events at the library as well as posting book talk videos once a week on the Library’s story channel.

A second article that I came across was “Book Tweets and Snappy Reads: Booktalking to Engage Millennial Teens” from the Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 6 (2015). In this article it states, “Research shows that one outcome of all these digital ways of interaction is that young people have become short-attention-spanned multitaskers” (Irivin). With this in mind, being able to reach teens has now become an art, with many libraries opting to use social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram, and/or Twitter to get their message out, especially with booktalks. Not only are these media sites where the majority of teens are hanging out, it is also in a format (quick snippets) that are able to keep teens’ attentions. The article also went on to outline six different ways to organize the booktalks in order to get the most out of the short amount of text each of these formats provide.

A third article I found was “Snapchat in the Library” by

person-woman-apple-iphone.jpgAfter reading these articles, I decided to research the social media sites myself, to see what I could find. My first search was on Snapchat. Okay, I have Snapchat, but I will be the first to admit I barely use it. Anyway, I tried to search for anything I could find on teen readers and books….and I failed. I then tried to find the “channels” (not sure that’s what they’re called) that I saw in my articles above…..and failed. I guess that one is going to have to wait until I have time to ask my students to help me search on Snapchat! I have no idea how to do it! My next stop was Twitter. Okay, never used Twitter until this class, but I think I’m becoming fairly knowledgeable on it now. I was able to find many tweets about adolescent literature, some even from teens! Eureka! It does seem that Twitter is an easy way for authors, librarians, and even teens to share books that they love books that they want to read. Goodreads is at least an easy one to navigate. There are many groups that adolescents can and do belong to in Goodreads in order to share the love of books. I like that there are options for almost any teen when considering a group to join. It is also a great place for them to collect lists of books they’ve read and/or want to read. The last stop on my social media adventure took me to Facebook. There are many groups that you can find that cater to adolescents and their love of reading. It is just another format that teens can use in order to connect with others of the same interest.

Final thought…social media is here to stay, there is no denying it. We have to learn to embrace it and use it to reach as many adolescents as possible. And if it is used to catch a teen’s attention, and steers them to a new book, then that is what it is all about.

Works Cited:

Irvin, Vanessa. Book Tweets and Snappy Reads: Booktalking to Engage Millennial Teens. Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 6 (2015): n. page. Web.

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