This week the Pew Internet in American Life Project released two new reports with information of interest to those serving teens. (Even though the information doesn’t focus on teens directly.)

Early in the week Pew released a report on online video use. One of the major findings is that 18 to 29 year olds are huge users of online video. The report states:

Young adults (those ages 18-29) are among the most voracious video viewers. Three in four young adult internet users (76%) report online consumption of video, compared with 57% of online adults ages 30-49. Less than half (46%) of internet users ages 50-64 watch or download video and just 39% of those age 65 and older do so. On a typical day, young adults’ video consumption also outpaces that of older users.

The word voracious really jumps out when reading that paragraph. And, if 18 to 29 year olds are voracious what does that mean for 13 to 18 year olds? Are those younger people watching as much if not more? And, if they are where is the library in all of this?

One of the findings related to the 18 to 29 year olds focuses on viral videos. The young adults, as defined by Pew, are more likely to share video with others. There’s that viral thing. If a young person – teen or teen plus – sees a video that they like (or even hate) they are likely to send it off to someone else so that that other person can share in the experience. Libraries could definitely use some of that sharing. If teens find videos on YouTube related to the library in some way, and if they share them with others, then the library is regularly being promoted by the teens doing the sharing.

Remember viral library related videos don’t have to be a traditional look at library programs and services. Teens could produce videos on things that interest them. These videos don’t have to blatantly say library, the message can be subtle and still get across. Imagine if every teen in your community was sending messages to friends about the video they saw on YouTube that was produced by the library. That would certainly be word of mouth marketing worth having.

On the YouTube topic, Pew found that a large percentage of 18 to 29 year olds watch videos via YouTube. Most likely if 18 to 29 year olds are on YouTube so are 13 to 18 year olds. (We’ve seen signs of that already.) In this report are numbers that show the quantity of young people watching video on YouTube. These numbers can help librarians sell the idea that they need to be where their users are, YouTube, and therefore help sell the idea of producing/sponsoring video that helps market the library via that online outlet.

The second document Pew released this week is on broadband access in homes in the United States. It’s clear from this report that broadband access is growing and that large percentages of home Internet users do have hi-speed access. This relates to a post I wrote earlier this week related to the Harris Interactive Poll findings on the topic of youth use and knowledge of libraries. The Pew document again demonstrates that hi-speed is in users homes – not all users but a large percentage of them – and that means libraries can provide services to teens that reflect that level of access. Of course this isn’t to say that a teen librarian doesn’t need to see what’s up in her particular community. But, it does seem to say that one can’t assume lack of broadband access.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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