30 Days of Teen Programming: Would this ACTUALLY work? A graduate student contemplates Twitter

When the email got sent around the bloggers about doing a 30 days of programming, my mind instantly went blank. I’m just a librarian-in-training and haven’t done a lot of hands-on programming with teens. What could I bring to the conversation?

Then I remembered I did have a program. A hypothetical one that is. I’m currently taking a Media Literacy for Youth class which has been amazing. One of our assignments was to create either a lesson or program plan about a media literacy topic. It could be targeted to any age group and should last 2-3 hours. We had to write about outcomes, lay out all the activities, essentially plan it so some librarian could do it with the kids they work with.

I’ll lay out my idea and then want your feedback. Is this program realistic? Would it work with the teens you work with? And if it’s not realistic, what needs to be changed?

So…here I go!

As a twenty-something, I would say I’m pretty well-connected in social media. If someone asked what my favorite social media platform is, I would say it’s Twitter. There something exciting about Twitter when you think about it like a cocktail party (shout out to blogger Dave Charest for this analogy) — there are hundreds of conversations going on around you and you decide which ones to tap into. And our teens are using it so why not have a program that challenges them to think about not only how they use Twitter, but how others use Twitter?

The program would stretch over several sessions, with each session being around an hour. I wanted to design a program that could be amended to fit the library and the teens. So each session has a big idea and it was my hope that librarians could pick and choose which sessions to do. Here’s a brief run-down of the sessions:

  1. Twitter 101: Learn the basics. Set teens up with accounts if they don’t have one (or have dummy accounts they could use for these sessions). Talk about how you tweet, what the heck hashtags are, and how the people you follow can create a bias for the information you consume.
  2. Creative uses of Twitter: Twitter doesn’t just have to push information out to people. It can be used to write stories, tell choose-your-own-adventure plots, and even poetry. This session would allow teens to explore these various avenues and try one out for themselves.
  3. Using Twitter intentionally — how businesses incorporate social media: This would be the workshop where you could bring in community partnerships. Ask a social media coordinator for a local company to come in and talk about social media strategies. How do those companies use Twitter (it’s intentional as opposed to the ways the average Twitter user tweets). You could even ask the staff member in charge of your library’s Twitter account to either help facilitate this session, or come in to give a short presentation.
  4. Tweet chats: Explore the world of tweet chats (or when hashtags trend and become a large conversation). Have the teens engage in a tweet chat or perhaps see if another library wants to team up and have the teens from both libraries talk via Twitter!
  5. Live tweet: I see this session as the final one, but it doesn’t have to be. Have the teens pick out an event they want to go to (or suggest an event like a library or school board meeting). Have the teens create a common hashtag and have them live tweet the event. See if those tweets can get other people to join the conversation!

So…what do you think? If you want to know more about each individual session, you can check out my online portfolio where the whole plan is (it’s the first link on the page), including references for more information. Looking forward to hearing your comments!

About Hailley Fargo

Hi, I'm a new professional working as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Penn State University. As someone who provides reference to undergraduate students and teach information literacy to primarily freshman, I'm curious about the intersections of the work of YALSA and academic libraries (and how we can collaborate and work together to help our teens). In my spare time, I like to bike, read memoirs, watch TV shows, and consider myself an oatmeal connoisseur.
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