I’ve had a tough time finding many articles on this topic. I’ve also found it difficult to track down teen reading circles on various social media sites. I’m of the group that would say social media doesn’t inspire teen readers to read as much as other methods, nor does it necessarily organize a reader’s life. But, and I say but, this week’s research has opened me up to a few new avenues of thinking on this topic. The main takeaway is that social media can certainly promote reading, offer an organized gathering point for various book clubs, and actually help square away a reader’s life to an extent. The full participation of my book club this semester has been through Skype, so I can’t bash all forms of social media. The definition of social media is wide and can include sites such as this one, WordPress. Therefore, the vast connectivity of this encompassing topic can be difficult to wrangle with. I found a very good young adult book club on Goodreads, but it was open to everyone and not just teen readers. Teenagers should be exposed to social media sites that promote reading, like the book club at Goodreads.
There are also many interesting booky hashtags on Instagram that promote a reading community through interesting and stunning photography. Now do sites like Instagram promote reading on their own? No. They have to be used properly in order to be effective in a sub goal of reading promotion. The same goes for Pinterest, which has to be streamlined effectively in order to promote a reading environment.
Don’t let my cynical nature on this topic let any readers stray from a certain point. This point is that social media can be a haven for teen readers who want to be a part of an online reading community, and teachers should push and push to promote it. But it can never replace face to face interaction with others who love to read. It can supplement it well, however. Blogs are a great way for teenagers to get their voice heard, and can help them join an online community of similar and different individuals. When I become a teacher I will be an advocate for teens to not be shy about sharing their reading life, and how social media is a good place to express their reading life, if used effectively.