Q & A with a teen bloggist.

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Recently, I chatted with a sixteen-year-old female high school student who enjoys reading, social media and blogging. I was surprised to hear how popular the practice of blogging is amongst her friendship group and impressed with her attitude toward ‘speaking out’ on social justice issues that she feels are important. Her feelings toward content presented by the mainstream media, in television news reports and newspapers, reveals suspicion and shows a developing critical awareness. The opportunity for young people to develop their own opinions, by conducting independent research into issues they view as significant, is something she considers to be highly important for herself and peers. Her most popular author at the moment is John Green (New York Time Y.A. bestseller and famous ‘vlogger’), she follows him (along with 200,000 other young people) on her preferred social media site ‘tumblr’.

Q. I hear that you own a lot of books? Is this correct?

A. Yes.

Q. How many do you estimate?

A. At least one hundred.

Q. Are you buying more?

A. I would like to but there is not enough space.

Q. What are you reading at the moment?

A. “Pride and Prejudice” for school. Then I was reading Tara Moss’s autobiography – “The Fictional Woman.”

Q. What types of books do you enjoy reading the most?

A. I quite like complex stories that are unpredictable.

Q. Any examples?

A. I quite liked the “Great Gatsby” and this autobiography. (Tara Moss)

Q. List some popular fiction books that you have also read?

A. All of: Twilight; Hunger Games; Harry Potters; Divergent. All of John Green’s books too.

Q. What is your favourite show to watch at the moment?

A. “Game of Thrones” and “Orange is the new black.”

Q. Do you watch them on youtube, television, or download?

A. Get it off my friends who download.

Q. What type of on-line reading do you enjoy?

A. “Wattpad” – unpublished authors. So I read my friends book on that, though I don’t usually read online.

Q. Are you a member of any fan clubs?

A. No.

Q. What sites do you post to?

A. Tumblr, facebook, instagram.

Q. How many followers do you have on ‘tumblr’?

A. Roughly 400.

Q. What do you blog about?

A. What ever I like – the books I like reading and social justice issues.

Q. Who’s your favourite band or musician?

A. Taylor Swift. Bastille.

Q. Where do you listen to the music you enjoy most?

A. Internet and Itunes, I don’t really use CD’s.

Q. What are the popular on-line activities amongst your friends?

A. Blogging, because it is uncensored and not distorted by media. It lets people develop an opinion on issues based on their own research – rather than what the media feeds us.

Q. How many of your friends blog?

A. All of them.

Q. Which sites?

A. Tumblr; youtube; other people’s blogs.

Q. Does your school incorporate any of the popular social media into school work?

A. In school work we don’t use media but we do use educational resources on the internet.

Q. Is there any social media that you would like to use at school?

A. Probably tumblr.

Q. Why doesn’t your school use it now?

A. Because of the national curriculum, we haven’t found a way to fit it in just yet.

Our generation is not as laid back as people may think. And we are not ignorant when it comes to social issues.

Q. Such as?

A. Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, religious conflicts- terrorism and racial conflict.

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2 thoughts on “Q & A with a teen bloggist.

  1. Hi Tony. I really enjoyed your interview. I too interviewed a teenage girl and was really amazed how they use tumblr not as a means of reinforcing their own views, but as a means of challenging their preconceived notions of gender and racial equality, same sex relationships and social justice issues. On the surface, a tumblr page can look just like a collection of fandoms, gifs and quotes, but when you dig deeper there is a lot more going on that meets the eye. Great interview and glad to hear there are young girls thinking about and critically analysing the world around them, not to mention reading book-books.

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  2. Thanks Tony. I have to say that your interview with the teenage bloggist was quite an amazing read. The extent of, not only her literary skills but her understanding of the impact digital literacy plays in the lives of youth today, was inspiring to read. To recognise that certain social media sites restrict the voice of people suggests that she is an intuitive and informed user of social media, and has ideas and opinions that she feels are valid and important. My experience of teen bloggers was at the other end of the scale, meaning that I couldn’t find any to interview. I would be interested to hear if your teen’s Tumblr followers are people she knows or random people trawling the net. And if it’s the latter, does that play on her mind when she posts on her blog?

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