Positive Use of Social Networking #25 – Freedom to Choose

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 #25.

Social networking technologies often allow for people to express their own opinions. A teen can set up their own blog in less than five minutes, post a comment on a forums board, or share what materials they are reading through LibraryThing. Check out SLJs recent article and podcast on LibraryThing here.

People who read and contribute to blogs, forums boards, wikis, etc. are being given the choice to be exposed to information that they might not otherwise come across as readily. Is it not slightly ironic, that DOPA targets school and public libraries, which are places that historically protect the freedom to access information?

It is my opinion that there are many parallels between Banned Books and freedom in the digital world. Making connections between the two, as well as being familiar with sites such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation might help us understand why DOPA is not the beginning and is not going to be the end of legislation affecting the digital world. It might help us to want to inform the teens we work with who use these technolgies of what the bigger picture is and not just be reactive or hope it will go away.

I wonder if Teen Tech Week might be one of many places to continue the dialogue of freedoms in the digital world and why/how it is just as important as protecting our freedom to read books.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Lonelygirl15 – telling a story

Lonelygirl15 calls herself ‘Bree’ and has been leaving posts on YouTube since May to share different things about her life with viewers such as complaining about her parents or talking about her relationship with Daniel. Recently, tracking software set up by fans of lonelygirl15 found that the posts might have been part of a marketing campaign and ‘Bree’ wasn’t really who she pretended to be.

Turns out the marketing campaign was really a group of friends that wanted to tell a story-“A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience.”

What about promoting programs through YouTube in a way that is a lead-in to something that might not be expected at your library? Keep them guessing and intrigued. Have teens create short videos to post on YouTube and create an interest in story telling and encourage interaction. What might that look like? Music in lonelygirl15’s videos alerted viewers of a local band that happened to be in town or ‘Bree’ would respond to viewers posts by making cookies they suggested. Great potential for promoting Teen Read Week or Teen Tech Week this way. Or even promoting storytelling and interactivity.

These ideas remind me of the article written by Erin Helmrich of Ann Arbor Public Library-
“What Teens Want: What Libraries Can Learn From MTV”, Young Adult Library Services (Spring 2004): 11-13 which is about learning how to integrate pop culture into publicity and promotions to teens.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki