What’s going on in your state re: social networking?

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper wants MySpace to install ‘parental consent programming.’ This would mean that without a parent’s approval, those under eighteen would not be able to use this site as well as similar social networking sites. This is only one of many proposals cropping up on a state by state case. Again, as with DOPA, while the intention might be to protect children, how will this legislation help to educate children to use this and similar sites responsibly? How does this legislation even attempt to understand the many positive uses of social networking sites? Hopefully the State Library of North Carolina will respond as they will be contacted. What is going on in your state? Please share and check/add to the YALSA wiki.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Positive Use of Social Networking #20-Educating Parents in the Library

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #20.

My colleague, who teaches MySpace classes for parents around the library system, has had a lot of positive results. Teens show up for these presentations as well, give their input, and a lot of great conversation results.

Some of the parents that have attended these workshops at the library include the following:

One couple’s daughter was raped several years ago by a man that will soon get out of prison. They attended the class to learn how they could keep their daughter safe online so that she could not be found via MySpace.

One father attended a workshop because he wanted to be in the same ballpark as his teens with technology; to have a way to communicate with them, by finding out what it is they are doing online.

Parents who want to allow their daughter freedom and flexibility but also honesty and safety in communicating online.

Here is the handout my colleague uses for his workshops which is also on theYALSA Teen Tech Week wiki.

If DOPA had passed in its current form, parents would probably not consider the library a resource to help guide them through the social networking sites that their teens are using at home. Teens would be less likely to participate in a dialogue at school and public libraries on using these sites in a responsible manner. Education within the school and public library setting can deter predators-not ignorance and not forcing these sites to only be accessed at home.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Positive Use of Social Networking #17 – Networking with authors

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #17.

YA author Brent Hartinger generously donated his time to talk about social networking issues and DOPA. If DOPA had passed, many teens would be unable to engage in opportunities to connect with authors such as Brent. Schools and public libraries miss out on being able to connect authors in places teens are at and comfortable in communicating.

1. When did you decide to start using social networking tools such as blogs and MySpace? Did you have an online presence and belong to any fanfiction communities, participate on forums, etc. long before you started publishing books?

Hmmm, interestingly, this whole online community thing sort of coincided with my emergence as a writer. I sold my first novel in 2001, and I immediately started putting together my website. I was definitely connected before that, but not nearly in the way I am now. It’s interesting to think about how connected I’d be if I wasn’t an author. Trying to sell books, and making myself available to readers, that’s definitely a motivation, partly because it’s so darn much fun, but also because, hey, this is how I make my living, and I need to eat!

2. How has having an online presence through these social networking tools allowed you to connect with teens and other authors or fans in ways that you wouldn’t have been able to?

Oh, it’s amazing! I respond to dozens of emails, and chat with at least another dozen people via IM every single week. And then there’s blog postings, and responses to my postings, which I always respond to. I swear, every single day, some new opportunity comes to me via the internet. Which is great, even if I’m chronically way over-extended.

I happen to be an author who does a lot of “live” events–I tour for every book, and speak at a lot of conferences and schools, something like 60 events a year. But even with all that, I don’t have nearly the “live” contact with readers that I have online, which is definitely in the thousands of people every year.

3. What is your criteria for ‘friending’ people on your MySpace page?

Well, I’m pretty liberal. But if I sense that it’s spam, someone trying to sell me something, I say no. Frankly, that really annoys me. I love to sell books too, but only if readers come to me! I’m an opt-in kinda guy.

4. There has been criticism of the scene(s) in Geography Club where Kevin and Russell, online friends first, meet in person. If teens do want to meet their online friend in person, what would you recommend?

Keep in mind that, in the book, Russel discovers that he and Kevin definitely go to the same school. So they “know” each other, and they know they’re both teenagers–they just don’t know each other’s names. That scene was also written in 1999, long before we became hyper-aware of these things.

In real life, I would always absolutely recommend meeting in a public place, like a mall, and definitely going with friends. Don’t EVER go anywhere with anyone alone on that first meeting. Believe me, there are lot of sickos out there–and most of them don’t necessarily look like sickos!

5. If the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) had passed in its current form, and teens possibly would be unable to access your MySpace site from the school or public library, what does that mean for you?

That would be unforunate, because I do hear from a lot of folks from school. Mostly, I’d think it would just be sad, because I’d like to see individual schools pass their own policies on these things, based on the needs of their own students. If they must mandate anything, how about some kind of reasonable, non-hysterical online education? (With the funding to pay for it, of course!)

6. Do you have any idea how many young adult authors have MySpace pages?

More and more. Obviously everyone has limits as to what they can do in a day, but I happen to think it’s almost required. In fact, I often say that if you’re uncomfortable dealing with people, and don’t want to have anything to do with anything online, you might consider another profession than that writer of teen books. These days, it’s almost a requirement that you be accessible to fans, at least if you want to sell books. But honestly, it’s the best part of my job, and I didn’t think it would be. I mean, fan email? How could that EVER get old?

7. Anything else you want to add?
Well, I’m pretty proud of my website, which

I think it pretty unique and is hopefully an entertainment experience in itself.

Here’s my MySpace profile

And my Live Journal blog

And I also contribute to another blog, http://asifnews.blogspot.com, one about issues of censorship and intellectual freedom, for a group I helped found called Authors Supporting Intellectual Freedom (or AS IF!)

Much thanks to Brent for his time!

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Positive Use of Social Networking #11-Building a Community around Gaming

During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and libraries. Here’s positive use #11.

Many libraries are offering gaming programs for teens on a regular basis and have been for awhile. This year’s ‘Get Active @ Your Library’ theme for Teen Read Week provides a perfect fit for DDR, which many libraries are participating in during this week.

Librarians have also worked to build community around gaming programs through social networking tools.

  • The sheer number of comments from teens on the Ann Arbor District Library gaming blog is amazing.
  • Another site to check out is the Gamefest site from the Bloomington Public Library in Illinois which again builds community around gaming by using social networking tools such as Flickr and linking to local gaming conventions which use discussion boards and blogs to communicate their events.
  • Last year, during a DDR event at the Thomas Ford Memorial Library in Illinois, Aaron Schmidt wrote about ‘harvesting content while they were there.’ By making Audacity available, teens recorded materials reviews during the gaming event, including books, to later be posted to the library web site.
  • Many libraries are using MySpace pages or blogs to host videos, photos, and announcements for their gaming events. One teen created his own MySpace page, boasting how he would be the winner of my library’s summer gaming tournament.

Consider connecting with the social networking resources that are already in your community to let them know about your gaming events. Local gaming conventions, Teen Clubs that offer video gaming nights, DDR Freak allows people to post about their gaming events-and teens do check this board, and websites for specific games often have a place to post about upcoming tournaments and events through a discussion board.

If DOPA passes, opportunities to connect with millennials who are gamers with the library, will be very difficult.

Join the MacArthur Foundation discussion on gaming from October 16-November 3; Everywhere Now: Three Dialogues on Kids, Games, and Learning.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

MySpace for Parents

In a May 2006 interview on DOPA and MySpace with Henry Jenkins and danah boyd, Jenkins states that, “Parents face serious challenges in helping their children negotiate through these new online environments. They receive very little advice about how to build a constructive relationship with media within their families or how to help their offspring make ethical choices as participants in these online worlds.”
At my library, my colleagues are offering a ‘MySpace for Parents‘ class where they teach parents how to set up their own MySpace account, and what to look for when their teens set up their own page. They also include resources in the workshop for further reading and information on other social networking sites the library uses.

What are other libraries doing to help parents help their teens ‘negotiate these online environments’? Or any ideas of what else we could be doing? Even if DOPA passes, parents will still need to know this information.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Sharing stories under the stars

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I had the pleasure of dining this week with Michael Stephens and Michael Casey, along with other staff from my library, including, Helene Blowers, the tech goddess that organized their visit. I mention dinner not because I learned that Michael ordered stacked brie and tomatoes and scallops with lettuce on the side (wait until the tabloids get a hold of that one!) but because we shared our stories. Our stories about technology and how we use it to create and redefine relationships (idea shared: ask people to bring their laptops or provide computers to have a digital scrapbooking get together), what libraries are considered innovators (Michael S. mentioned Cherry Hill Public Library in New Jersey for ripping their entire music collection into iTunes), and what we can do as a large library system to embrace Library 2.0. (check out: http://plcmclearning.blogspot.com/)

What resonated most about Library 2.0 to me is it’s relationship to DOPA and the affect it will have on the culture that many of us try to create for teens in our libraries. It’s not all about having the coolest and biggest technology available, but the relationships that are possible as a result of these technologies. It’s about our stories and their stories and how developmental needs are fostered through what Library 2.0 allows.

Library 2.0 / Developmental assets:
a culture of trust / positive values
self correcting / empowerment
participation and play / constructive use of time
transparency/boundaries and expectations
collaboration / support

Those are only a few. There’s so many more.

A story to share-we had a drop-in podcasting session at our library yesterday. The teens wanted to upload their recording to their MySpace page. I helped them and got to know them a bit more and they agreed to have their recordings on our library site as well. What are your stories with social networking? The discussion board on the YALSA wiki is a great place to share-because that’s what DOPA is really going to effect-and how dare it.

By the way, Michael S., if you’re reading this-you owe me a round (or two) of DDR.

Blogs and My Space

At today’s Teens and Technology Institute someone came up with the idea to have participants at the program post links to their My Space and/or blogging sites. So, if you have a My Space site or a blog that would be of interest to librarians serving teens add a comment here with the URL and any info. that you think would be of interest to those looking at the site. If there’s something from today’s programs that you think connects to your blog or My Space site mention it in your comment.

Thanks.