I picked up the phone to chat with Paul Samuelson of Sourcebooks about one of their new books being released in March (Poetry Speaks Who I Am which is for teens). While we chatted, Paul told me about an exciting teen social network that they had established. Since YALSA’s Teen Tech Week is coming soon and I’m trying to help a student teacher design projects, I needed more information. Today I share with you his letter about Teenfire.sourcebooks.com
As you may have heard, Teen Tech Week, sponsored by YALSA, will be taking place between March 7-13 and after looking through their materials, I realized that these activities can be easily implemented using our teen social network, http://teenfire.sourcebooks.com!
This week of techno fun is a national initiative aimed at teens, librarians, educators, and other concerned adults to encourage teens to take advantage of libraries’ nonprint resources. YALSA has a variety of different activities and suggestions which can be found on their website.
Sourcebooks Fire (the YA imprint of Sourcebooks) is not only putting together a list of suggested activities, but we’re going to give your students a moderated forum to showcase their work to almost 1,000 of their peers who are also active online. Additionally, they will have the chance to win FREE BOOKS for both themselves and their libraries just by participating!
What differentiates the TeenFire social network from similar websites is the involvement of published authors and YA editors throughout. Teens who submit original fiction on the Writers Forum, for example, are regularly given advice from authors like two-time national book award finalist Adele Griffin, Dianne Salerni and Joy Preble. Debut authors Lisa and Laura Roecker have a regular blog on the site and actively interact with all the members. The site is only one month old, but with almost 1,000 active members we’re very excited at how fast it has been growing!
Click here to view all we have going on for Teen Tech Week!!
There are three advantages to using TeenFire to introduce teens to social networking:
- Because of the focus on YA literature, teens will be interacting with other teens who share their interests (as opposed to Facebook where there is no easy way to interact with other book lovers). A ready & engaged audience of booklovers makes participation a lot more fun!
- The content on our network is immeasurably safer than the content on any large social networking site. Not only do we have a team of editors and marketers actively monitoring the site, but each of our authors is also an administrator with the responsibility to police content. Although we can’t be everywhere, the size of the network and the amount of oversight make this a tightly knit virtual society!
- The site is easy to use and incorporates all of the elements found on large social networks, while also providing functionality to update other social networks (facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc.) with the content posted on this site.
- The ability to create “groups” makes it easy for librarians to create individual groups for Teen Tech Week, and to communicate with the members of that group with the click of a button. Also the ability to create forums and post comments in those groups make it ideal to host remote Teen Tech events & provide support.
For Teen Tech week, TeenFire is hosting the following events:
· Share a Book Video Contest: Are you the next James Cameron? Create a book trailer, video review, scene from a book or any other book related short video (3 mins MAX) and upload it to the TeenFire video archive for a shot to win FREE copies of any 5 Sourcebooks Fire books for you & your library. For contest details & tips on how to do this quickly (and for free!), check out the Share a Book forum on TeenFire. As submissions come in, they’ll also be posted in our TeenFire Web Portal, prominently displayed on our front page. Featured videos will be picked at random, and we will continue to feature one teen video through March 19th (assuming we have enough contestants!)
· Mad Men of Literature: Put Don Draper to shame using all your creative & technological powers to design an ad to inspire your peers to pick up a book! Five winners will receive an 11×17 poster of their ad, with additional copies available to their library. A grand prize winner will also receive free copies of any 5 Sourcebook Fire books, as will the sponsoring libraries. For details & guidelines, check out the Mad Men of Literature forum on TeenFire.
· Pimp My Profile: Let your true colors show by customizing your profile page! Our TeenFire network allows much more flexibility in picking colors, uploading graphics and posting videos than a regular facebook page! For the easiest contest to enter in all Teen Tech Week, design a unique profile page & enter to win one book of your choosing for both yourself and your library from Sourcebooks Fire. For details and guidelines, check out the Pimp My Profile forum on TeenFire.
· TeenFire Trailer Contest: Our authors need your help! Create trailers for any Sourcebooks Fire titles and enter to win five Sourcebooks Fire books of your choosing for you and your library. Since many of our YA books aren’t out yet, we’ve uploaded a few chapters of each title which can be read on each book group page. To register, check out the TeenFire Trailer forum on TeenFire.
If you’re a librarian who would like to have a group of teens participate in these events, it may be a good idea to form a "group" so that you can have a place to post instructions, as well as have a method of emailing all the members with the click of a button. For more on creating a group, please read this one-sheet: How To Join A Group-Or Start Your Own.docx.
Restricted to teens ages 13-19, individuals and groups of up to five teens. Prizes for individuals will be shipped to a single address and distribution will be up to the recipient. All are invited to participate, but library prizes will only be shipped directly to a library address. Individual teens (not affiliated with a library) are free to participate, but are encouraged to contact local libraries to find out if they’re doing anything for Teen Tech Week. No disparaging comments or language will be tolerated and abusers will be banned at the administrator’s discretion.
Thanks for the information, Paul. Can’t wait to check it out. Let us know what you’re planning.