Trending in Youth Culture: The Best Blogs and Sites for Youth Advocates
[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.
Features creative program ideas and highlights the best in youth outreach programs, social media, technology, and entertainment.
Offers youth culture news in both the corporate and non-profit world.
danah boyd | apophenia
The blog by youth researcher, academic and youth advocate danah boyd.
mobileYouth Idea Factory
Fresh ideas and concepts on youth culture around the world.
Teenage the Film Blog
A looks at the concept of ‘teens’ throughout history.
Youth marketing blog that focuses on timely youth culture trends.
Everything teen, from book reviews and social media, to youth research and marketing.
TECHNOLOGY AND GEEKERY
Where memes are born and funny stuff that says a lot about Millennials. Sometimes not suitable for work (NSFW).
Cool stuff with a street art flavor–gaming, toys, art and design, media, and comics. Sometimes NSFW.
All sorts of techie, nerdy, sci-fi goodness.
Know Your Meme
Database and blog about all the meme jokes and viral sensations bouncing around the Internet.
The Mary Sue
A guide to the coolest in girl geek culture.
Social media news and info on new web apps.
Wired magazine’s blog directory of tech stuff: games, gadgets, science, media—everything.
VIDEO GAMES AND APPS
Streamlined video game news and reviews.
Wired‘s all-in-one gaming blog, everything you need to know without the fanboy filler.
Massive gaming blog with strong opinions and sense of humor. Updated constantly.
Teen celebrities, movie news, and pop culture.
Teen celebrity news, game and film reviews, and fun stuff for tweens
Anime News Network
Anime and manga news, updated constantly.
Covering the world of comics and graphic novels.
DIGITAL CONTENT CREATION
Blog Spoon Graphics
Great resource for refreshing your website: promotional posters, free vectors, icons, and easy tutorials.
If you want to know what trending in the fandom world, look to this community of talented fan artists.
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
Great crafting tutorials and links to great craft project sites.
Cut Out + Keep
Highlights crafts with a decidedly hip vibe. Lots of searchable fandom stuff here.
All kinds of neat how-to articles submitted by the Instructables community.
Curated image collections of cool project ideas. Great resource for your next DIY program.
Endless supply of video game-inspired projects.
MUSIC AND VIRAL VIDEOS
All the new buzz-worthy artists and music.
Rolling Stone Magazine’s Blogs
All the music artists you need to know about; check the names, order the CDs.
Clever videos with an indie and arty edge.
Viral Video Chart
See what’s buzzing in the viral video world.
YA BOOKS, LIBRARIAN BLOGS, AND THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
The Daring Librarian
A school media librarian with some amazing ideas and social media know-how.
Great blog to keep fresh with the publishing industry.
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
An unbelievable resource for program ideas and book tie-ins; a must read for every YA librarian.
“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.