Saturday, July 16, 2022

Social Media

Rodkey, Geoff, Hart, Kevin, and Cooper, David (illus.)
Marcus Makes it Big (Marcus #2)
May 3rd 2022 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Public library copy

After his experiences in Marcus Makes a Movie, Marcus is riding high on his fame. He has been using social media, like MeTube and ClickChat, and has even been in contact with actor Tevin Bart, who liked the movie that he and Sierra made. His friends keep encouraging him to post things, but without Sierra's help, he struggles to develop content, although this doesn't stop him from trying to get 1,000 followers so that he can monetize his account. This ends up being harder than he imagines. It seems easy for Sierra, who has a lot of good ideas about the quality of the videos and the value of the content. When the two are interviewed on a talk show, Marcus makes a terrible mess of it, showing up in a moldy shirt, throwing up backstage, and arguing with Sierra in a way that makes him look particularly foolish. She's managed to navigate social media really well, and even has collaborated with friends, who are angry with Marcus because he is not including them on his channel... mainly because it's a hot mess, but they think he's keeping money from them. When his new Toothpick Man video looks like it belongs in the trashcan he's trying to use for the Hatebot 3000 costume, Marcus starts to despair. Will he be able to slow down and take the advise of those around him to focus on what is really important to his creative life?
Strengths: Remember Web 1.0 before social media? It's probably hazy; I've had a Twitter account for ten years, thanks to The Brain Lair's teacher vs. librarian summer reading smack down. I remember talking my daughter down from a Facebook bit of nastiness around the same time. Students are on social media, and many of them think they can be YouTube stars without understanding the work it takes to really become big. This is an excellent overview of the nuts and bolts of social media and creating and monetizing content. It escapes being didactic thanks to Marcus' goofiness and the plentiful page illustrations. While Marcus is rather over-the-top goofy, he is surrounded by cooler heads like Sierra and his father. Even Tevin Bart has some sage advice. I liked that Marcus had to deal with realistic problems as well, like doing chores and having an older phone with a battery that died frequently. Young readers will be attracted to Marcus' brush with fame, but find a lot of helpful information about using social media.
Weaknesses: I've thought about it a lot, and heave determined it is better if authors use the names of actual social media sites and other pop culture phenomena. Yes, MySpace is moribund, but MeTube instead of YouTube (and Flitter instead of Twitter) just sounds silly and will be every bit as dated if YouTube folds. Tevin Bart isn't fooling us, either.
What I really think: I'm not a huge fan of celebrity authors (usually because I don't know who they are), but Rodkey's writing is strong, and maybe my students know who Hart is. The first book has circulated well in my library. 

Kyi, Tanya Lloyd, Kyi, Julia and Rosas, Vivian (illus.)
Better Connected: How Girls Are Using Social Media for Good
May 17th 2022 by Orca Book Publishers
Public Library copy

Lloyd Kyi, who did the fantastic Lowdow on Denim (2011!), Mya's Strategy to Save the World, and Me and Banksy teams up with her teenage daughter to investigate how young women are using social media, how it affects them, and how they can use it to help the world instead. There are great illustrations, photographs, and interviews with a wide variety of people trying to change the world. I liked the sidebar #NoFilter where Kyi and her daughter discuss brief issues an offer differing generational perspectives. 

I'll buy a copy for my library, since I think my students will enjoy this book, but since I have zero interest in either changing the world or using social media any more than I am absolutely forced to (Young Adult Books Central posts the monthly Book Haul on Facebook, so I have to go on there, and the book promotion world seems to revolve around Twitter), I had trouble getting too invested in it. Reading it the last week of the school year didn't help. This is one that high school and middle school libraries need, so definitely take a look.

The online world has real dangers, but girls around the world are using social media to create positive change and practice good digital citizenship.

From the publisher:
You've probably seen media stories about the ways girls interact online, with headlines like "Depression in Girls Linked to Higher Use of Social Media," or "Half of Girls Are Bullied on Social Media." Better Connected focuses on the less-recognized and positive aspects of the online experiences of girls. From environmental activism to gun control, immigration policy to education access, girls are leading the way. They're showing up, teaming up and speaking up. With profiles of real changemakers and practical tools for getting started, Better Connected is an inspiring look at the amazing things girls can accomplish online.

No comments:

Post a Comment