Social media has taken over so many aspects of life. There are news reports about what is happening on sites such as Facebook and Twitter–it is nearly inescapable!
So how to books fit into this? How does the tactile written word, which seems archaic as technology sweeps by, stay relevant?
Well, sites such as GoodReads and The Copia help make books ‘tech savvy.’ GoodReads, as I like to affectionately refer to as the “Facebook for Books,” is wonderful, and has the same sickeningly addictive effect as other social media sources. GoodReads is rather user-friendly and easy to use. You pretty much set up an account and start adding books and friends. You can create an entire network on GoodReads based off of your readings interests alone. If you are absolutely obsessed with Beautiful Creatures (or YAL in general) you can not only ‘add’ and ‘review’ the book, you can create an entire page dedicated to how much you love that particular novel or the genre entirely! It’s great and I think it has a lot of untapped potential.
The Copia is something I have recently discovered. It is similar to GoodReads, in that you can add books and comment and review, while creating a network of ‘friends.’ But, The Copia seems to have more features. You can create chatrooms and have literary discussions on a more advanced level through this website. You can take a hightlighted section from a book (of your choice), and start an analytic group review of it all at your fingertips!
Now, as a school librarian, I like to think about the educational possibilities of literary social media such as these. What can we do to place a finger on the pulse with the younger generations, and make literature a part of there highly tech-savvy world? I think sites such as GoodReads and The Copia help answer this question.
I can see a school, especially with access to tablets and/or eReaders, adopting a section of their curriculum strictly dedicated to technological dialogue. Educators can download a classic piece of literature (which is what most school curricula consists of) onto eReaders and tablets and have their students read them digitally. Then, they [students] can go onto literary social media, and create online classrooms. They can create chat rooms, highlight text, have debates, and so much more all online. These types of activities can be small homework or classwork assignments or they can expand into culminating projects–the possibilities are endless!
I think, we as educators, need to not shy away from technology, but rather EMBRACE it all! Our students are always young, but let’s face it, we are getting older. They will always be a step ahead of us in terms of the ‘next big thing,’ but we can stay relevant and run along with them. I think these types of steps will not only engage students through a technological forum (that they are becoming more and more comfortable in), but also allowing education to be available around the clock.