A week ago Bryce Don’t Play posted an excellent list of ways to figure out what the kids using your library are into. I decided to riff on that and post some ideas for keeping up with teen culture. Of course talking to the teens in your library is the best method, but not always possible depending on our roles.
YPulse is a marketing firm that focuses on youth. They make a living telling businesses how to engage Millennials, and you want to do the same thing at your library. Essentially they identify trends in all areas of teen life so you can keep track.
Twitter Trending Topics – Locally and Nationally
First, your local trending topics are a good indicator if teens are actually using Twitter or not. There is a good chance that if some of the hashtags make you cringe or go “Huh?” teens are using twitter. Now you need to find out what they mean. Welcome to a new world of slang and music acts.
Popularity Contest Awards Shows
Keep your Emmys and Oscars, if you want to know what teens are into sit through the Teen Choice Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and Billboard Music Awards. It won’t kill you, though after the first hour of the Teen Choice Awards it might feel like hell. The PCA’s have even started recognizing “Favorite Fan Following” in music, movies, and tv. FYI the Twihards somehow beat out the Tributes.
While it’s true that I don’t see teens reading magazines very often in this case it’s the content that is important. If you have younger teens you want the celebrity poster style magazines, just look for one ones with Justin Bieber and One Direction on the cover. With your older teens it’s more likely People and US Weekly.
Think about the teens you know and try to figure out which magazines fit their interests. Take a quick flip through Rolling Stone, Game Informer, or ESPN Magazine. Make sure at least one of them is a music magazine.
I can hear some of you now saying “Beth! You didn’t mention Tumblr!”. Okay, yes. Teens are on tumblr. I didn’t list it here because it’s not actually that easy to find things beyond traditional media sources available elsewhere.
Yes, you can follow tags but how many reblogged gifs of One Direction/Taylor Swift/Supernatural do you need in your life? To be honest, for those of you not desensitized by fandom it can also be a little extreme.
If you have any other ideas for keeping current please share them in the comments!