YA Clicks February 2014

Trendwatching 101

Rebecca Purdy and the Web Surfers from the Central Rappahannock Regional Library

Popular trends can and should inform our programs, initiatives, display, and online outreach. While readers’ advisory lets us know which books are most sought after, it is challenging to stay on top of teens’ other interests.  Author and librarian Elisabeth Doucett, one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 Virginia Library Association annual conference, gave an excellent presentation on trends in libraries and recommended several informative marketing websites.  Since her speech, I have followed her on Twitter, @brandlibrarian, and have enjoyed browsing and learning from her suggestions, Cool Hunting and Trendwatching (see Aribah’s review below,) but I also wanted sites with direct teen appeal and a “cool” factor.  Luckily, the Web Surfers knew just how to help!  Here are their suggestions for sites guaranteed to provide cutting edge insights into what’s hot and what’s not that you can use on the job.

Through YA Eyes

Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed

4I 3R 4U

A/YA

You can lose track of time reading endless lists of humorous posts on BuzzFeed, which caters to the young adult lifestyle. They focus on viral media on a variety of topics, ranging from sports to politics. It is a strangely informative way to pass time; some of the material is completely brainless, but you’ll end up surprised that you’ve actually learned something! This straightforward website includes unique posts such as, “The 50 Weirdest Things in All 50 States,” while still including funny articles (I’m looking at  “The 25 Funniest AutoCorrects of 2011”). I found BuzzFeed extremely useful when I wanted a study break and a quick laugh. This site covers everything you care about, in an easy to understand format. One of BuzzFeed’s missions is to sort and encourage popular topics with “Badges” like “LOL,” “AWFUL,” “GEEKY,” “CUTE,” which users can tag to the posts they feel deserve them. BuzzFeed is available online and through the App Store for Androids and iPhones; they even have their own YouTube channel! With well hidden ads, it’s worth it to procrastinate, take a seat and browse through their witty, neverending posts about cats. Ultimately, the thing to remember is–don’t take this website too seriously, but be open minded and you’ll find yourself laughing in no time!–Mariah Gross

Digg

News.me Inc.

4I, 5R, 5U

A/YA

Finally, there’s a website that tailors its news towards teens, with humorous, yet informative, articles and fantastic photos that are sure to entertain. Now Digg doesn’t simply feature the typical so-boring-I-fell-asleep-halfway-through articles, but instead compiles entertaining explanations and opinion pieces about topics in which teens are actually interested. Just a few examples: “How to find your iPhone,” and “Why I bought a house in Detroit for $500 at 23.”  Also, to make Digg even more entertaining and up to speed with technologically savvy young adults, the site features great pictures, has an app, and is easily shared on most social media sites. What’s even better is that Digg could not possibly be easier to navigate, with a neat headline and a picture of each of the featured articles. When you click on an article,  Digg opens up a separate tab leading to the article which is found on a different website. Once you finish reading, you can simply exit the article and continue on browsing Digg. All in all, Digg is a great website for teenagers to actually learn and laugh about people, issues, and events in the news.–Rachael Ibinson

Digital Trends

Designtechnica Corporation

5I 5R 5U

M J S

Want to know what the latest digital trend is? What’s in and what’s out?  Visit Digital Trends to learn the latest about cars, laptops, cell phones, watches, and much more! This interactive and easy to use website has four main tabs so you can look at product reviews, news, videos, and features. You can also use the search bar to easily find a specific item that you would like to know about. Digital Trends is a great website for those who do not know a lot about technology or for those making a major decision on which product to buy. Also, sign up to “share your thoughts and opinions in a fun way on Digital Trends!”–Aribah Hussain

i am not a teenager

Dave Rozman

4I 3R 5U

A

i am not a teenager offers teachers and parents help building relationships with teens. The main goal is to help adults better understand, relate to, and connect with teens in order to positively impact their lives. If you know nothing about teenagers and what hobbies most of them like, then this website is great.  It will help you find the latest trends in a teenage world by telling you what they are into and what they are not. It also shows how teenagers act and how you should act with them.–Hafsah Hussain

Know Your Meme

Cheezburger, Inc.

4I 3R 3U

A/YA

Contrary to belief, teenagers are not always up-to-date on the current trends–that’s where Know Your Meme comes in. I’ve personally used this website more than once to understand the context and origins of a current Internet trend. Entries are extremely well researched, down to the original user that started the meme, a chart showing Internet activity over time, and multiple examples of the meme. However, the website is cluttered with links and ads, and if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, it can be tricky to find the meme’s page. Also, memes that the website labels as “trending” or “popular” are often on the way out of teen consciousness and approaching the point at which people are sick of it, such as the Doge meme.  The “researching” category is most likely the best place to observe the current memes, but these entries are typically not as complete.  Due to the often profane nature of memes and the Internet, I wouldn’t recommend this website for younger audiences, but it’s suitable for teens and adults. Short of actually joining social networking sites, Know Your Meme is a reliable source to learn about current trends.–Kira Zahedi

Mashable

Mashable, Inc.

4I 5R 5U

A/YA

You won’t find your local weather forecast or traffic report on Mashable. It ditches the local news stories for articles about what’s happening in a much larger world—cyberspace. After sifting through multiple social media sites, Mashable finds the most interesting and trending topics. With access to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and more, Mashable can quickly create a conglomeration of Internet news and lifestyle stories all on one page. Soon after arriving, I found myself engrossed in a lifestyle article about the fear of public speaking.  Next, I sifted through an amazing collection of oil paintings which resembled photographs. Lastly, I perused a humorous editorial, “12 Things You Forgot Happened in 2013.” I could have kept reading and scrolling forever. With its seamless interface, bright colors, and large images, Mashable is a literary-art-media-news spectacle. Its sole purpose is to connect the scattered puzzle pieces of the busy Internet into one complete picture—a goal that it more than achieves. Mashable is a librarian’s one and only website for discovering new trends for teenagers. Additionally, Mashable tracks the popularity of articles and places trendier stories toward the top of the homepage. With this feature, librarians can discover which trends are here to stay and which are just passing. More than just a website, Mashable is your newspaper to the huge (and always growing) Internet media world.– Jacob Hopkins

The Popular Teen

The Popular Teen

5I 5R 5U

S

This website for teen trends is incredibly informative, and is even fun to use! There are short articles on this site about various topics ranging from dating to health and fitness. There is a tab especially for parents to find submissions and leave comments. This website is very easy to navigate, and is visually appealing with at least one picture associated with every article. As a teen myself, I have found this website to be very useful for advice, and I enjoy reading the articles in my spare time. I have already recommended this website to multiple friends. Whether people are going through a difficult time or are incredibly successful, this forum has resources for everyone.–Allison Weiderhold

Trendwatching

Trendwatching.com

5I 4R 4U

A/YA

Trendwatching.com is “an independent and opinionated trend firm, scanning the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas.” There are  many interactive tabs, such as viewing presentations, tips, and a couple of free publications about monthly trends. You can even subscribe for more! It provides readers with current information for the latest and greatest trends. This website is also great for journalists who are working on a story and need extensive insights into some of the latest trends.–Aribah Hussain

Kudos for Library Teen Sites

Sacramento (CA) Public Library

Teens shine on Sacramento’s teen focused website!  A prominently promoted volunteer profile includes a photo of two teens who created the “Teens Teach Seniors” program at one of their branches.  It’s also easy and clear that teens can contribute content by writing a book review.  The site itself is visually interesting with a scrolling slideshow that allows them to highlight current information and services, while with the recurring menu options are clearly presented with icons to make them pop.  Upcoming programs at all branches are also clearly visible on the homepage, and listed consecutively making it easy to find out what’s happening this week. Rather than a long list of online resources, they offer “Get Help,” which is focused on topics such as “Crisis Counseling,” “Sexuality and Health,” and “Reading and Writing” where a librarian’s expertise is particularly vital.  The “Community Involvement” section directs teens to local organizations that offer teen volunteer opportunities; first to be included is the library!  Many libraries offer a texting service, but bury it in the menu.  Sacramento recognizes this favored teen form of communication, and clearly invites them to “Text a Librarian.” Sacramento’s teen site offers inspiration to any library serving teens.

Purdy headshot, used with permissionRebecca Purdy is the youth services coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The Web Surfers are a collection of teens willing to volunteer some of their time to see their names in print and help young adult librarians find good sites for their library blogs and Web pages.

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica Rollerson says:

    I have an embarrassing question. I find these great websites like VOYA or YALSA and then forget to find them again for months. How do you keep your digital life straight?

  2. […] February 2014: Trendwatching 101 […]

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