Tanin's Blog

December 1, 2009

Push to Talk: The Seattle Public Library’s Teen Blog

Filed under: Public Libraries — tanin @ 7:41 am

Honestly if it weren’t required for LIBR 500, it’s not likely that I would have participated in social media. I just don’t find it amenable to my own personality and lifestyle. However, as I learn more about the potential and the practical aspects of social media—for example, its use in education—I feel more receptive to it, although my use of it is likely to be limited to work-related matters.

So far, blogs have been my favorite social media used by libraries. Today I looked at Push to Talk, which Toby from The Seattle Public Library forwarded to me as “a blog for a teen audience.”

I have no children, and my nephews live far away from me. I don’t understand children, or teenagers very well. As I clicked the link to Push to Talk, what flashed through my mind were two teenage boys I was sitting next to on the bus listening to them speaking aloud in their pubescent voices, while they were playing a video game on a palm-sized machine.

The first thing that caught my eyes on Push to Talk was the logo with two buttons (and Braille surrounding the buttons). One button said “fire,” the other said “seismic.” The logo was attractive. It was also effective. Even someone like me who remotely remembers the teenage days could understand the message that was being communicated. Teenagers need an outlet to talk about what matters to them.

The blog entries are written by teens, and are exactly what they promised to be—“entertaining, interesting, and bringers of good stuff.” The topics are various—weather, nature & hobby, recommendations on books and movies, vegetarianism, and useful tips for how to succeed in school & homework. All are “teenage” versions (or not-so-teenage-versions) of what we talk about in our daily lives.

In my previous entry, I mentioned how the time and the energy spent on social media should be related to the percentage of the library users who engage in social media. I have to admit my thinking was premature. I overlooked one of the most important roles of a library as a leader/educator of the community it serves. A library cannot just wait to serve only those who come into the building; a library should reach out to those who really need its service, but cannot come to it on their own.

Today I owe a lot of my ideas to a librarian of The Seattle Public Library. I was inspired by the teen blog he recommended, as well as by his comment on a library’s role. Thanks again, Toby.

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