Virtual Worlds are big with teens

“By mingling aspects of video gaming, social networking and communicating, virtual worlds have appeal for both genders and are an intriguing opportunity for those marketing to kids and teens,” according to eMarketer. What might this mean for libraries? We usually want to be a popular place for teens to hang out whether it’s a physical or virtual space. How might we market our services in virtual worlds? Teens could create a machinima PSA for a program or event. The library guild could be started by the IT manager. We could run our writer’s groups in Gaia Online.

I find the question at the end of the article interesting, “What if a person’s virtual activities have no bearing on their real-world activities?” I bet if we get to know a teen long enough that’s in a virtual world often, we’ll find many ways that their virtual activities are part of their real world activities. For example, I know a teen that is going to approach his library council to be more involved in a virtual world because of his own involvement. That’s great advocacy!

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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2 Comments

  1. joseph wilk [Member]

    I’d also like to mention that virtual worlds are also popular for teens who wouldn’t consider themselves male or female, or would consider themselves as one but be considered by others as another. Virtual worlds give them the ability to shape their gender expression into the way they want, far outside of the constraints society places on their bodies. Providing virtual spaces also help librarians provide spaces where they can act meaningfully with teens who might be feeling more themselves online than in the flesh for these–and any number of other–reasons.

  2. Virtual worlds are big with the Library of Congress as well. “The Preserving Virtual Worlds project will explore methods for preserving digital games and interactive fiction.” See more information here: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2007/07-156.html

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