What is the first thing that you do in the morning? Do you jump up out of bed and go for a jog? (If so, I am proud of you. Teach me your ways.) Or do you grab your current book and read a few pages? I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I don’t normally do either of these things. My morning routine consists of hitting the snooze button once (or three times) and, when I am finally prepared to face the day, I roll over and grab my iPhone off of my nightstand. I’m sure that you all know what happens next; I immediately get on to my social networking sites and catch up on what I have been missing out on. I check my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram piously every single morning, but what is the draw of this?
Social media has grown tremendously over the past few years and it will only get bigger. In fact, I don’t foresee a time when social media will slow down at all. According to Pew Internet Project’s research, 90% of people ages 18-29 used social media in 2013. This number grew from only 9% in February of ’05. People of all ages are joining the online community for numerous reasons, so why can’t we use it to form and join book communities?
This week, I did some research about teens, literacy, and social media. It’s interesting to see what sites people are using to create that community on. From Twitter to Pinterest, the online book conversation is growing. I loved being able to go through new sites and learn. It’s crazy to see the platforms that people are using to get the word out about new and interesting books.
Twitter: Before this class, I hadn’t ever really thought about using Twitter to find new books or create a literary community. When we first started this semester, I was pretty timid to Tweet out to classmates and create bonds. However, I now can see that Twitter is an incredibly tool. How awesome is it to have the authors of your favorite books right at the tip of your fingers? That’s one of my favorite parts about Twitter. If an author answers back to a Tweet of mine or favorites it, I might be guilty of fangirling a bit (or a lot). According to The Statistics Portal, there were 305 million active Twitter users at the end of 2015. Think of all of the people that you can connect with. My TBR list has absolutely exploded since I started this class purely because my classmates and other people that I follow on Twitter are fantastic.
Instagram: This is one social media app that I hadn’t considered using for a literary community up until this week. However, as I started to explore more, I was amazed. There are SO many different people sending out pictures of books and quotes of books that I sat looking over them for over 30 minutes. How awesome is that? I loved seeing pictures of old books that I loved growing up, such as Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, and I loved seeing some sweet Harry Potter pictures. From #currentlyreading to #bookstagram, there is a hashtag for every reader.
Pinterest: I’ve had a Pinterest for years, but hadn’t ever looked for books while on it. As I explored, I found some great boards with books for every type of reader. From “The Ultimate Guide to Dystopian Teen Novels” to “If you don’t know what to read right now…,”I found some awesome boards. I can see myself in my future classroom using this resource to help the reluctant reader find the perfect book for them. I even had to create a new board, Book Binging, on my own account so that I could save all of the awesome pins that I found. How handy is it that you find some great books on the same site that you can use to plan your (possible) future wedding? 😉
Goodreads: Goodreads is, of course, fantastic. I have loved using this site throughout the semester. It’s great to be able to look up a book and have numerous (and by this I mean thousands) of reviews at my fingertips. I love being able to categorize my books and keep track of everything I have read. It’s also a wonderful tool to get more book suggestions. I see what some of my classmates are reading on my homepage and, if the books looks interesting, I’ll go read the brief synopsis that is given and check out the reviews and ratings it has received. It is a great site to use when you need to manage your TBR list as well as the books that you have read. You can have numerous bookshelves that separate books out into categories to make your reading easier to keep track of. This simplicity is something that I always look for in a social media site.
If there is something that truly connects nearly everyone around us, it is social media. Everywhere I turn, someone is on their phone tweeting or instagraming a picture from their weekend. I truly believe that social media can have a positive impact on literacy and our classrooms. Think about all of the book sharing and awesome things that we have been able to do online this semester. I know that a lot of the books on my TBR list would not be there if I hadn’t been on Twitter or exploring Goodreads. If used correctly, I believe that social media is an incredible tool to use in our classrooms.