Last night some friends and I were sitting around at dinner, and conversation turned to the recent National Equality March. Don’t recognize the name? You’re not alone–though news organizations report tens of thousands of participants, almost none of us at the table had heard about the march before it happened.

This came as some surprise, as we were a table full of very politically involved women–many of us participated in rallies in the wake of Proposition 8, or phone-banked for marriage equality in Maine and New Hampshire, or stumped for candidates in local elections. And we’d certainly gotten wind of other marches and events in the past, often making sure to mention them well ahead of time at our weekly dinners.

And then it dawned on me: we weren’t on Facebook.

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Last night on Twitter, I saw postings from two of my LS grad students. They have completed work for an elective they took this summer that required them to tweet, produce book trailers, listen to audiobooks, and blog about their summer reading. Summer classes are intense since the turn around time for assignments can be days instead of weeks. However, these two postings assured me that the students are making the connections I envisioned. Both postings revealed that, even though the class is over, the students will continue to listen to audio and post to their blogs and stay with Twitter. Here are two newly minted school librarians who know the importance of connecting via various networks. They understand that Facebook and Twitter and other networks are functioning as their PLNs (personal learning networks).’  They can connect not only to one another but to librarians across the country and even across the ponds.

As school opening draws closer, how will you extend your PLN? Are you blogging and tweeting? Is there a listserv for your district or state? Do you monitor lists sposored by YALSA? If you do (and chances are good since you are reading the YALSA blog), why not tell others in your district about the values of social networking? Give them links to blogs; share your “twibe” from Twitter. Help others get and stay connected.

I’ve been talking to my teens today and found that most of them are using MyYearbook.com to connect with peers because their parents found their MySpace and Facebook page.

I asked them what they thought about adults being on their social networks and they responded that the library would be cool to be friends with, but they do not want their parents or teachers on the network they use with their friends. Another popular network is Gaia.

What are your teens using?

Once again, I heard an item during the a.m. news that involves teens and a new trend.’  The trend is performing a smoking ritual with the candy known as Smarties.’  You take a plastic tube of Smarties, crush the candy up until it’s powdery, and pull on it with your mouth like it’s a cigarette.’  You don’t light the candy, and you’re not supposed to inhale.’  Users puff the candy out of their mouth and it looks like smoke.’  This hit the news because a number of teens have posted videos of themselves on Youtube teaching how to “smoke Smarties.”‘  In Frisco, Colorado, a middle school principal has made possession of Smarties a punishable offense. Read More →

I am in DC for the Webwise Conference sponsored by IMLS, The Wolfsonian, the Florida Center Library Association, and MacArthur. It has really been a fabulous conference, and I’ve seen many of the projects sponsored by IMLS grants connected to digital media learning environments. I want to tell you that futuristic learning looks incredible and is going on right now–not a decade from now. Read More →

Hope springs eternal. Doesn’t It?

For the past several weeks I’ve been feeling extremely positive about recent media and research reports demonstrating the positive impact on teens of social networking. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society report released last month on social networks as safe spaces, and the earlier MacArthur report on the positive implications of social networking on learning, buoyed my spirits.

But then, Tuesday arrived, and the web was buzzing with the words of Lady Greenfield – Professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford, and Director of the Royal Institution – about the negative impact of social networking on brains. I actually didn’t want to read the press about what Greenfield was saying, because I didn’t want to lose my hopes. But, I knew, in order to be educated about the topic I needed to read. So, I did. Read More →

A couple of recent blog articles about Facebook privacy settings got me thinking, once again, about the importance of informing parents, and other adults who live and work with teens, about how to setup social networking accounts to maximize privacy.

The first post I saw is on the Read Write Web blog. The article has a title that says it all, How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely. In the text readers find a clear rundown of how to use the various privacy settings on Facebook to decide what profile information to make available to specific users. Read More →

A few recently released studies on teens, sex, and technology have some folks all a-flutter. ZOMG! Teh sex! Before any of us use the results to defend our hard line on MySpace or cell phones in libraries, though, we should look a little bit more closely at what these studies–and so many like them–can really tell us about our teens.

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Today I learned about a web tool that I think could be really helpful in connecting teens, librarians, teachers, parents, administrators, and others to good resources.

Eyejot ThisThe tool is Eyejot and on the surface it’s a simple way to create web video that you can email and embed on web pages. However, what’s more exciting is the Eyejot This bookmarklet that takes linking to the next level. Read More →