Trending in Youth Culture: The Best Blogs and Sites for Youth Advocates

Andrea Graham

[Editor’s Note: This article is also available in VOYA February 2012.]

One of the most enjoyable challenges of working with youth is keeping afresh on developments in popular culture and media trends. Having a comprehensive understanding of what’s trending with youth can help tremendously in creating winning programs and outreach services and in developing a cross-media library collection.

Whether it is books, films, music, or video games, there is always something new and buzz-worthy to get excited about. At time, it can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible to keep up with the constant change and upheaval of what’s “in.” Luckily, there are some fantastic youth-focused blogs and websites available online that make discovering and interpreting youth trends all the more attainable.

The best and easiest way to keep on top of youth culture is to read a diverse selection of blogs. If you are a professional working with teens, you should try reading at least a few blogs from the following topics daily: technology, YA lit, youth culture, video games, teen media news, manga and graphic novels, music, digital content creation, and DIY crafts. Setting up a RSS reader, like Google Reader, can help you save time by saving your favorite blogs to browse through at your convenience. To get you started, consider visiting the following blogs and sites.

YOUTH CULTURE AND TRENDS

4YA: Inspiration for Youth Advocates.

http://www.the4yablog.com

Features creative program ideas and highlights the best in youth outreach programs, social media, technology, and entertainment.

Barking Robot

http://www.debaird.net

Offers youth culture news in both the corporate and non-profit world.

danah boyd | apophenia

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/

The blog by youth researcher, academic and youth advocate danah boyd.

mobileYouth Idea Factory

http://www.mobileyouthideafactory.com

Fresh ideas and concepts on youth culture around the world.

Teenage the Film Blog

http://teenagefilm.com

A looks at the concept of ‘teens’ throughout history.

YouthBeat

http://www.youthbeat.com

Youth marketing blog that focuses on timely youth culture trends.

Ypulse

http://www.ypulse.com

Everything teen, from book reviews and social media, to youth research and marketing.

TECHNOLOGY AND GEEKERY

9Gag

http://9gag.com/

Where memes are born and funny stuff that says a lot about Millennials. Sometimes not suitable for work (NSFW).

Albotas

http://www.albotas.com

Cool stuff with a street art flavor–gaming, toys, art and design, media, and comics. Sometimes NSFW.

Boing Boing

http://boingboing.net/

All sorts of techie, nerdy, sci-fi goodness.

Know Your Meme

http://knowyourmeme.com/

Database and blog about all the meme jokes and viral sensations bouncing around the Internet.

The Mary Sue

http://www.themarysue.com

A guide to the coolest in girl geek culture.

Mashable

http://www.mashable.com

Social media news and info on new web apps.

Wired Blogs

http://www.wired.com/blogs/

Wired magazine’s blog directory of tech stuff: games, gadgets, science, media—everything.

VIDEO GAMES AND APPS

Joystiq

http://www.joystiq.com

Streamlined video game news and reviews.

Game Life

http://www.wired.com/gamelife/

Wired‘s all-in-one gaming blog, everything you need to know without the fanboy filler.

Kotaku

http://www.kotaku.com

Massive gaming blog with strong opinions and sense of humor. Updated constantly.

CELEBRITY/MEDIA NEWS

Gossip Teen

http://www.gossipteen.com

Teen celebrities, movie news, and pop culture.

JSYK

http://www.jsyk.com

Teen celebrity news, game and film reviews, and fun stuff for tweens

MANGA/ANIME/GRAPHIC NOVELS

Anime News Network

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com

Anime and manga news, updated constantly.

The Beat

http://www.comicsbeat.com/

Covering the world of comics and graphic novels.

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATION

Blog Spoon Graphics

http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk

Great resource for refreshing your website: promotional posters, free vectors, icons, and easy tutorials.

deviantART

http://www.deviantart.com

If you want to know what trending in the fandom world, look to this community of talented fan artists.

Smashing Magazine

http://www.smashingmagazine.com

Digital media tutorials and social media news that are great for anyone looking to develop their Photoshop/Illustrator skills.

CRAFTS AND DIY

Craft Mag Blog

http://craftzine.com/

Great crafting tutorials and links to great craft project sites.

Cut Out + Keep

http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/blog

Highlights crafts with a decidedly hip vibe. Lots of searchable fandom stuff here.

Instructables

http://www.instructables.com

All kinds of neat how-to articles submitted by the Instructables community.

Pinterest

http://www.pinterest.com

Curated image collections of cool project ideas. Great resource for your next DIY program.

Sprite Stitch

http://www.spritestitch.com

Endless supply of video game-inspired projects.

MUSIC AND VIRAL VIDEOS

MTV’s Buzzworthy

http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/

All the new buzz-worthy artists and music.

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Blogs

http://www.rollingstone.com/blogs

All the music artists you need to know about; check the names, order the CDs.

Vimeo

http://vimeo.com/

Clever videos with an indie and arty edge.

Viral Video Chart

http://viralvideochart.unrulymedia.com/

See what’s buzzing in the viral video world.

YA BOOKS, LIBRARIAN BLOGS, AND THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

The Daring Librarian

http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com

A school media librarian with some amazing ideas and social media know-how.

GalleyCat

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/

Great blog to keep fresh with the publishing industry.

GreenBeanTeenQueen

http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com

Great book reviews from a teen services librarian. Also check out her YA movie reviews. Plus the GreenBeanTeenQueen’s YA lit blog list at http://www.blogger.com/profile/08708155058381407531.

Teen Librarian Toolbox

http://teenlibrarianstoolbox.blogspot.com/

An unbelievable resource for program ideas and book tie-ins; a must read for every YA librarian.

YAwesome

http://yawesome.org/

“Taking a Closer Look at Teen Media” with book, film and media reviews with the teen patron in mind.

Andrea Graham, is a youth culture consultant, researcher, and teen services librarian at the Northport-East Northport Library in Northport, New York. She is the founder of 4YA: Inspiration for Youth Advocates, a one-stop-shop for youth culture and trend news.

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7 Comments

  1. Maria Kramer says:

    Thank you Ms. Graham. Thank you soooo much!

  2. What a great list! Thank you so much for this wonderful resource!

  3. M.M says:

    This is a great list! There should also be a category for youth development websites that help youth achieve success in what they do! Such as the Upperclassmen blog!

  4. Rhonda Renfro says:

    Thank you. I just want to be excellent at what I do and this gets me a little closer. God bless.

  5. Rahul Somaiya says:

    Hello all, nice list! Some great ones here!
    Please check mine out too!
    http://rahulmanutdlife.blogspot.in/

  6. Derek says:

    Thank you, Andrea!

  7. Andrea, i am teaching a youth culture class this semester. Would it be possible to skype you into my class for 15 minutes and you talk about youth culture and your 4YA: Inspiration for Youth Advocates?

    The class meets Mon and Wed at 9:00 AM CST (10 your time i think)

    you can email me dudley.chancey@oc.edu or call me 405-249-5270

    thanks for considering

    dudley

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