Where Teens Come to Read and Write: Online
12.10.10 | A new website that invites teens to share their own writing online and connect to new books and writers counted over 4,000 registered users during its first official day, according to a post on mediabistro.com.
At Figment.com teens can submit novels, short stories and poems via their computers or phones and can also give and get feedback on their own work and work posted by others.
The site’s founders are current and former New Yorker staffers who got the idea for the site from a story about Japanese young women who were writing fiction on their mobile phones, according to a piece in the New York Times.
The site already has publishers signed on and author Blake Nelson is publishing his young adult novel “Dream School” serially on the site. But even more exciting are the submissions from teens that already include everything from long fantasy fiction to poetry.
“The world of literature becomes a community, enabled by technology and emboldened by participation of every member,” founder Jacob Lewis said in a blog post earlier this year.
Lewis told the Times that young people on the site weren’t much interested in using Figment as a more traditional social networking space. Instead, he said they wanted to connect around the content: reading, writing and discovering new literature. Figment hopes teens will also collaborate on writing projects with their peers on the site.
Spotlight has covered the potential of online spaces and social media tools like Figment to engage kids in literature and writing. Online communities like Whyville, for example are partnering to create opportunities for users to read, participate in online discussions and engage in story-inspired activities.
Research shows that with support, teens can learn a lot when engaged in digital projects based around their own interests that are meaningful to them and they have ownership in.
Figment is part of trend to take advantage of teens digital savvy and move the writing and reading to the social spaces where kids congregate online. Publishers as well are working to let teen readers drive content and be creators of the fiction they love to read. On Fanfiction.net, for example, another such site, young writers post stories and share them with other users. The site currently has 2.2 million stories in 39 languages, according to Publishers Weekly.
It’s inspiring to peruse through the comments on the site from newly registered young authors. Witty and literary, passionate about reading and writing, they all seem eager to hear from their peers.
“Give me hell about anything I write, PLEASE!,” one young writer begs. “I appreciate ALL criticism, and if you give me some, I’ll absolutely give whatever you have a read.”
Now if only adults were so open-minded.
Leave a comment
Comments are moderated to ensure topic relevance and generally will be posted quickly.