Teens Know Web 2.0: iHCPL for Teens is a self-paced discovery learning program designed to help teens make the most of free Web 2.0 technologies, such as photo editing sites, productivity tools, online videos, social networking and sites for sharing music.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Photos: Sharing

Flickr CC: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Originally uploaded by prakope
You might already have a Myspace, Facebook, or Friendster profile, and you may have even posted photos on your profile albums to share with friends. Social networking sites like these offer practically an unlimited amount of space to upload your photos and sort them into albums. If, however, you enjoy taking pictures more than the average person, you might find photo-sharing sites have much more to offer.

There are plenty of photo sharing sites to choose from on the Internet, but Flickr, Picasa, and Photobucket are just a few of the bigger names in the business. And while they offer the uploading and sorting options that you’re familiar with, they take it further for the digital neat-freaks among us with the option to arrange pics into detailed albums, sets and collections.

In case you aren’t already familiar, the basic business of “photo sharing” is done through something known as “tagging,” in which you attach as many keywords as you want to describe a photo. Though Facebook and Myspace have a similar feature in which you “tag” photos with friends’ names, photo sharing sites allow you to tag not only with names but with just about any other words or phrases that might have anything at all to do with your photo. This way, you can see all of the pictures other members have taken of “motorcycles,” “cheese sandwiches,” or “squids,” and others can see yours as well. Click here to see more examples of tagging on Flickr.

Flickr CC: grilled cheese sandwiches
Originally uploaded by nettsu

So what else do photo sharing sites have to offer? Is tagging the only benefit? Besides tagging, sites like the ones already mentioned also allow you to upload video, create slide shows, or setup links to your blog or other personal profiles, just to name a few. You may also enjoy learning that others have created different fun and interesting uses for these sites known as “mashups.”

Discovery Exercise

  1. Create a free account on one of the photo-sharing sites mentioned above.
  2. Upload some of your favorite photos. Create as many unique tags for each photo as you want. Try organizing them into sets and collections.
  3. After you’ve uploaded and tagged some photos, click on the tags with your own photo to see what others have posted with the same tags.
  4. Take a look at some of the Flickr mashups to try out other fun options.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Social Networking: Fun & Games

So, you've written the great American novel, recorded a platinum album, sold your first painting to MOMA for a few million, and cataloged your entire book collection. How about some pure fun and games with a side order of sillyness?

Game On
Gaia Online--Gaia (pronounced "guy-uh") is a hybrid of Second Life and Pogo with a dash of LiveJournal and anime. It started as a hangout for anime and manga fans but you will find Gaians have a wide range of interests. The discussion boards range from America's Next Top Model to X-Men. Like Second Life, you have to work to earn virtual gold to buy clothes and items for your avatar. You can play games, sell items in the marketplace or shake the trees in towns for gold (yes, in Gaia, money does grow on trees!). You can watch movies or tv shows in the Gaia cinema and then create a YouTube playlist for everyone else to watch. Gaia also features Quests sponsored by movie and anime companies where you can earn special items.

Habbo--Similar to Gaia Online but less traveled.

This Space is Going to the Dogs [and Cats]

humorous pictures
more cat pictures

The past two weeks, you have learned about the myriad of social networking opportunties available to you but what about your dog or cat? Don't they deserve their own site? Never fear! You can create their own social network at Dogster or Catster. Even though the concept seems silly, it's a great way to connect with other pet owners and learn more about your best friend.

Are you on Facebook? Try Catbook or Dogbook instead.


You were promised silliness in the introduction and here it is. No, someone hasn't hacked our links. If you clicked on any links and found yourself viewing a copy of Rick Astley's video "Never Gonna Give You Up", then you've been RickRolled (not a RickRoll, I promise)! RickRolling reached critical mass this April Fool's Day when YouTube turned all their top videos into RickRolls. If you clicked on a link about chess, you got Rick Astley. If you wanted to watch a video of Tila Tequila in her bikini, you got Rick Astley. If you clicked on a link to win an iPhone, you got a big dose O'Rick. It quickly spread to all the social networking sites and that day, you could barely go a few hours without being RickRolled.

Discovery Exercises

1. Explore Gaia Online or Habbo. Play some mini-games (Pinball is my favorite) and explore the towns.

2. If you have a pet, get them online!

3. RickRoll someone.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Social Networking: Get Creative!

Now that you have written, read, and reviewed the great American novel, it's time for some new creative endeavors. In this next module, the hills will be alive with the sound of music, art, and knitting!

Raise Your Voice
The Sims on Stage (or the social networking site formerly known as Singshot)--Once upon a time, there was a little karaoke site called Singshot. It was so popular that it attracted the attention of EA Games (owner of The Sims) who bought it and turned it into The Sims on Stage. It's still the same fun and friendly site but with some major extras. In addition to karaoke, you can record a poem, comedy routine, or story. You can also create movie mashups. Most of the people are kind and supportive so you don't need to worry if you can't sing like Mariah Carey.

GarageBand--If you have an unsigned band or just love discovering undiscovered bands, check out this site. You can create playlists of your favorite artists, rate their songs, and even download your favorites. This is a fabulous place for alternative music that you won't find on Top 40 radio. If you have a band, you can upload songs, promote your gigs, and start a fanlisting.

imeem.com--Your place for playlists. Create music, video, and photo playlists. Share them with other members and discover new artists through their search feature.

Drawn Together
deviantART--One of the largest online art communities. You can post your own artwork, start a list of your favorite artists, and discuss art with people around the world. You can even sell prints of your original artwork.

Rate My Drawings--If you can draw with your mouse or own a graphics tablet, don't miss this site. In fact, try it out here. Once you are registered, you can enjoy Draw Chat, add pictures to the gallery, and more.

K1 C2
If you know what that means, you need to join Ravelry! (For those who don't know, it stands for Knit 1, Crochet 2.) Ravelry is MySpace for Knitters and Crocheters. You can track your progress on a project, post photos, ask for advice, or find yarn and patterns. They even have groups especially for teens. Right now, they are still in Beta so if you join, it can take about two weeks for you to be approved. It's definitely worth the wait.

Discovery Exercises
Be bold! Record a song on The Sims on Stage, try your hand at drawing, or create a funky new playlist. Do something outside of your comfort zone and let us know how it feels. Post your results in your blog or comment here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Social Networking: Beyond MySpace: The Next Generation of Social Networking

funny pictures
more cat pictures

In the beginning, there was MySpace. And it was good. Its success brought forth the wonders of Facebook and Beebo. And they were good. Then one day while checking his friend's list, a teen, very much like yourself, realized that even his grandparents were on MySpace. The day that you realize that even Neil Diamond has a MySpace page is the day that you might consider migrating to a new space that you can call your own. In the next few modules, you will learn about new, teen-friendly spaces where you can explore your creativity, write the story of your life or just plain have fun.

New to social networking? Check out the video below by Common Craft that explains how it works.

Remember to read about Online Safety before using social networking sites.

Write Now

Do you want to write the story of your life? Do you think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows needs a sequel? Are you writing the great American novel? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to check out the following blog and writing social networking sites:

LiveJournal--The mother of all blogging, social networking sites. The thing that makes LiveJournal different from other blog sites like Blogger is the addition of social networking. Instead of reading blogs with an RSS feed, you friend the journal that you want to read and read it via your Friends List. If you have RSS feeds that you like to read, you can also add them to your Friends List and read them on LiveJournal. Quite a few YA authors have LiveJournal accounts including Libba Bray, Cecil Castellucci, and Laurie Halse Anderson. There are also book discussion groups, writer boards, icon contests and more.

If you don't find what you are looking for at LiveJournal or if you already have an account, check out these other blogging sites:

Insane Journal--Just like LiveJournal, only smaller and crazier.

Vox--Smaller but artsier version of LiveJournal.

Storymash--Are you stuck on the opening paragraph of your novel? Get some help from other writers on the collaborative creative writing website. You can get feedback on your writing or create stories with other writers. Also try WeBook.

Well Read

Are you looking for something new to read? Can't wait to discuss your favorite book with someone? Need a way to keep track of all the books you have read? Try Shelfari or Library Thing. Both have active discussion groups, the ability to catalog your books, and other great features.

Already on Facebook? Try Visual Bookshelf or add your Shelfari bookshelf to your profile.

Of course, you might also want to check out HCPL's own online Teen Book Club where you can chat with local teens and HCPL librarians about the books, music, videogames and more!

Discovery Exercise

Check out some the the websites mentioned about and sign up for one that interests you. Create your own experience by writing a short story, book review, or storymash. Let us know about your creative endeavor by commenting to this blog post!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Online Safety

Instant messaging, blogging and using social networks are quick and easy ways to share ideas and keep in contact with friends. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you do so.
  • Age Requirement
    • Only use sites where you meet the age requirements
  • Protect your personal information
    • Don't use your real name in your email address or screen name.
    • Think before you give your email to a company/organization or enter it to participate in a contest. You could end up with a lot of spam.
    • Don’t post your address, phone number and social security number on the Web or give them to anyone.
    • When setting up an account, remember to set the preferences. Only allow people listed as a Friend or a Buddy to chat with you, email you or see your profile.
  • Watch what you post
    • Don’t post photos or information that you wouldn’t want your parents or your teacher to see.
    • Use an avatar for your profile instead of a photo. Photos can be altered by other people and posted in other places on the Web.
  • Friends & buddy lists
    • Make sure your “Friends” or “Buddies” are people you actually know and can identify. People are less likely to give you trouble if they know you can identify them.
  • Take action when trouble starts
    • If anyone threatens you online or makes you feel uncomfortable, block them and file a complaint on the site or talk to an adult.
Discovery Resources

Can't see the above video, watch it on YouTube.
Watch the HCPL Legend Busters: Internet Safety Video above and select one of the following links to videos about online safety.

Discovery Exercise
  • Play ID the Creep to see if you can spot the unsafe online contacts.
  • Find out about some of the stories from Real Life teens.