10 votes

Did Twitter break Young Adult fiction?

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  1. kfwyre
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    This is a fantastic read. I’m not on YA Twitter, but as a teacher, I know a lot of people who are — librarians, ELA teachers, and reading specialists mostly. I’ve always bit my tongue around them...

    This is a fantastic read.

    I’m not on YA Twitter, but as a teacher, I know a lot of people who are — librarians, ELA teachers, and reading specialists mostly. I’ve always bit my tongue around them when they talk of it, as their enthusiasm for the platform has always rubbed me the wrong way: in part because it felt a little r/fellowkids-ish but mostly because I don’t think we should be encouraging kids to get on Twitter in the first place (much less encouraging them to integrate adults into their online social spaces).

    A lot of the stuff the author articulates here I’ve experienced secondhand. I’ve had a number of disagreements with colleagues about #ownvoices (I think it’s a harmfully reductive way of looking at fiction) and about specific instances of authorial conduct. It also wasn’t until I read this article that I realized that YA authors were pressured to respond to their audiences. I was honestly always a little impressed when my colleagues would get responses from authors on questions or mentions, and they themselves were often starstruck. It now makes sense that many of those authors weren’t replying as a simple courtesy.

    Purity culture is also deeply disheartening, and if you think it’s bad in the “normal” world of social media, it’s especially bad in circles filled with people with ownership and stake over what we teach to children. I’ve seen the extremes on both sides. A parent called our principal to complain about one of my colleagues this year because an article they read in her class had a single sentence in which the male author mentioned a former boyfriend. Meanwhile, another colleague of mine helped an author get disinvited to an event after a mild controversy arose about a crappy but mostly harmless tweet they’d made.

    On the plus side, I am seeing more and more pieces like this, where people are realizing the harms of mass media platforms and calling for change. Some of this might be my own filter bubble (Tildes has a large contingent of people dissatisfied with major media platforms), but some of this I think is genuine social shift. More and more people are becoming critical of what social media is doing to our discourse. Everybody used to look at my dislike of Twitter as sour grapes or unnecessary cynicism. Now I feel like more people are coming around to the idea that maybe there is some actual fire underneath all of that social smoke.

    8 votes