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Dear Reader,

Welcome to April’s Media Moment! This month, Miranda, a librarian friend of CMCH, writes about the challenges of engaging teens via social media. These stories are meant to help create a village square of commiserating and co-celebrating the many ways media intersect with the lives of children. Please comment and even submit your own ‘Moment’ to share with your fellow readers.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,
The Mediatrician®

Media Moment – Teen’s Vote: An Attempt to Gain Some Attention

One of the biggest challenges at our Library is finding ways to engage teens on social media. The Library actively facebooks and tweets but has failed to develop a youth following. We often find ourselves shaking our heads after another great idea has successfully engaged our adult patrons but has utterly failed in attracting any youth. Perhaps, we have wondered, the problem is that teens are so spread out on social media that our attempts at a varied effort come off as weak. But what to do?

TeensocialmediaRecently, our Youth Services Librarian came up with a very bright idea: Why don’t we simply ask teens which form of social media they prefer? It seems an obvious solution, yes? Not exactly, as it can be quite difficult to conduct research on minor (yet important) questions at our library; the process of finding participants in itself can be quite a challenge. Disenchantingly, the Library’s Teen Advisory Board, composed of teens invested in the success of the Library, has failed to shed any additional light on the subject.

But the Youth Services Librarian’s plan went further than just asking for input. Inside the Young Adult section in the Library, she created a 6-foot tall chart listing all the forms of social media and asking teens to vote for the three they preferred by placing a bright (and exciting!) gold star next to the names.

The days following, the area was abuzz. Teens congregated and happily placed stars on the board. It became a focus of conversation; teens playfully argued over which form of social media was best, defending their choices to their peers, or placing gold stars on more than one.

Out of the fourteen possibilities, there were three forms of social media that emerged as being far more popular than the others. Unsurprisingly, they were Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. As I mentioned above, the Library already has a presence on Facebook and Twitter. However, given this new information, we then created a Library Tumblr account with content specifically designed for a teen audience.

Leaflets were placed in strategic locations around the Library and notices were affixed to the walls–the Tumblr was advertised through all the means at the Library’s disposal. Eagerly we waited for the days to pass and for the Tumblr to take off. This, we believed, would definitely be the solution that had so long eluded us. After all, the teens themselves had responded so positively to the survey!

Hours turned to days, days turned to weeks, which in turn became a month. How many people now follow our teen Tumblr? I know you must be thinking it must surely have a very solid following. Well, at the time of writing, the account has a whopping total of 6 followers. Sigh.

Don’t worry! We are not disheartened; we have plenty of other ideas! We’ll keep trying, placing our hopes on promising new projects and rebooting old reliable methods. I’m positive that the Library will eventually engage our teen patrons–well, maybe not positive, but I feel fairly certain. Well, I mean the possibility exists that it may be the case, some day…

~Miranda, Librarian

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