June 9th, 2009

Reaching Teens with Social Media

Pew Research consistently puts out great and super-useful resources.  We recently came across a presentation that Mary Madden gave at the Media-Smart Youth expert panel discussion hosted by the National Institute of Health.

The following info is taken from her slides (viewable below) that discuss what the integration of the internet into daily life “means for educational programs that seek to engage youth through new media.”  The points she makes are really useful when thinking about how educators and organizations can more successfully engage young people at all levels.  In the age of standardized testing, outdated textbooks and underfunded schools, social media presents some real opportunity for more relevant (and successful) pedagogy.

Her talk breaks down four major points:

1.  Get Creative
64% of online teens are content creators.

2.  Start Conversations
Teen content creators solicit and give feedback.

3.  Reinforce Relationships
Rather than replace offline relationships with online ones, social media tools work best when they augment relationships that have other dimensions.

4.  Cultivate Semi-public Spaces
Curate social spaces that are safe for sharing honest ideas.

Some of her concluding ideas are:

  • Connect with teens using the tools they already know
  • Make your resources infinitely shareable
  • Create opportunities to collaborate

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