Friday, March 2, 2007

Same Content -- New Format

Teen-created content isn't anything new. As a teen, I wrote in a journal, wrote stories (including some that shamelessly stole the plots of my favorite books), and took pictures. One of my friends created scrapbooks, one wrote poems, one wrote songs. Sometimes we would share them, whether among ourselves or with a larger audience. Essay or story contests and photo competitions were just some of the means open to us for sharing content we created. We could participate or not, and there was always something special about reading or viewing something we knew another teen had created.

Blogging, message boards, and podcasts provide new opportunities for sharing content. I find it telling that in the study of teens who blog, 69% share content like drawings, stories, photos, or videos. The teens who share content online would share content even without the new technology. I think it's important for libraries to take advantage of technology and how tech savvy teens are. Besides blogs, teen book reviews, and podcasts, we can have teens teach adults the use of new or unfamiliar technologies. In a more informal way, we could have them teach us about blogging or podcasting, too.

Using technology to display teen-created content generally prompts the question from adults: "Isn't it dangerous because it's more public?" But doesn't that depend on how you use it? I know, for instance, not to put personal information on the internet and not to meet up with anyone I "talk" with online. I think it's too bad that this technology often gets overlooked or criticized by adults, because the technology itself isn't bad. It's just another way of sharing content. If we want to be relevant to more teens in our community, we owe it to ourselves and to them to utilize things like blogs and podcasts ourselves. As long as teens (and adults) are taught how to use such methods of sharing content safely, it's no more of a danger than getting your name in the paper after you win an essay contest.

1 comment:

Linda Braun said...

Absolutely true about the lack of newness of tech-based teen related content. One thing that I thought of when reading this post was that in previous teen created content environments librarians might have had less opportunity to play supporting roles. For example, a teen who kept a diary didn't perhaps need to have opportunities to participate in programs and services related to online privacy and safety.

The new technologies give librarians great opportunities for connecting with teens and empowering them in ways that were not before possible - seems to me.