I tell the teens that the youth services staff aren't teens, as much as we still love the books, movies, and music they do, we don't know what's popular or what's cool-and it's their job to tell us. And they love to give feedback! I met with our teens recently and asked them for a Hot or Not list-I like to do this every so often to get an update on what's going on with them pop culture wise and to make sure we're on track at the library with our program planning. Here are some of the highlights of their feedback:
- HOT-pretty much anything with a movie coming out-Percy Jackson, The Book Thief, Ender's Game, Divergent, and The Mortal Instruments were all mentioned in the context of their upcoming movies (I was pleased they knew they were books first!). They are also enjoying dystopian and science fiction the most.
- NOT-Twilight-they are pretty over the paranormal craze, although they did mention that they are still interested in some paranormal and supernatural, but only if it's interesting and well written.
- HOT: Doctor Who (I have a core group that is obsessed with this show!), Adventure Time (again they were all excited about this one), Gravity Falls ("the only show worth watching on Disney Channel-it's weird but fun"), Supernatural, Sherlock, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Once Upon a Time, My Little Pony (again, a core group that is in love with this show!). They also liked the animes Hetalia, Black Butler and Fruits Basket.
- NOT: Disney Channel (with their one exception), Hannah Montana, The New Teen Titans (although they were a bit meh on this one and admitted it's worth watching, but only watching once and not getting into the fandom over because they've made changes and it's not as good as the old one)
- HOT: Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Panic! at the Disco, Pink, Train (although only some songs), Robin Thicke, Michael Buble, Lincoln Park, and then they cracked me up with these-Led Zepplin, Queen, and The Beatles. They also mentioned that they prefer older music, not newer music because "some of it is good but other stuff is like what were you thinking?") One Direction (although they were a bit torn and said that the What Makes You Beautiful song is a paradox and promotes low self-esteem. "If the fact that she doesn't know she's beautiful makes her beautiful, then he tells her she's beautiful, now she knows, so she's out of his league and not beautiful."
- NOT: Fun. ("They are so 2012!"), Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, The Script ("They're just whiny-I get it, you have a broken heart!") Blood on the Dancefloor ("People at school like them, but I don't. The singer is too high pitched like it's something only dogs can hear and has a dumb name."). They then expressed that they were confused by Taylor Swift-was she country or pop? They wanted her to stick with just one genre.
- HOT: YOLO when it means You Obviously Love Oreos
- NOT: #yoloswag, saying hashtag in real life conversations, Beast, Boss-although these last two are popular with middle schoolers
- HOT: Tumblr (by far the number one most popular and most used by teens, especially for the fandom cultures they love like Doctor Who, My Little Pony and Harry Potter), Instagram, Snapchat (they don't use it but know it's popular with friends, they're just not interested), Minecraft, Vine, YouTube, Using Firefox or Chrome as your browser
- NOT: I Like Cheezeburger, Myspace, Facebook, Using Internet Explorer as your browser
So there you have it! A pop culture update from teens themselves! Do they line up with the trends and interests of your teens?