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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Don't Ignore YouTube Just Because You're Not 8 to 16

So the other day on my Facebook business page, I posted this meme:

Parents and grandparents of elementary school kids should be nodding (and laughing, come on--it's funny) along with this hysterical meme from Debi Downer on Facebook (which you should follow by clicking that link because she is super funny!) because you understand the YouTube craze like no other, I'm sure. My daughter who is 8 sometimes watches YouTube on our Smart TV instead of Netflix or Hulu--instead of Disney! (gasp) And she watches people play video games or do slime challenges or play "games" where the kids switch clothes with each other. She wants to talk about slime and create her own challenges all the time, and I will admit that I'm often not tuned into the conversation because I just don't understand. 

But this "blasted" YouTube is where kids are. This is where teens are. This is even where adults are--finding TED talks, how to change their oil, or how to make themselves look better through Photoshop. Recently, when I taught the School Visits and Author Talks class for WOW! (next one is in October!), even I used YouTube videos as part of my material. Authors are making videos of their presentations online, so that interested schools can view them and see what the authors' speaking styles are like. And I used these videos as examples for WOW! students on how to create engaging and interactive presentations for kids. 

Recently, I was listening to the Jen Hatmaker podcast and her guest was HEAVEN TAYLOR-WYNN from MediaWise, a media literacy project that aims to teach 1 million teens how to sort fact from fiction online by 2020. (This really does have to do with videos and YouTube, just bear with me...). During the interview, the following exchange took place:

Jen Hatmaker: One thing I know as a mom of five teens and just post-teens is that... they are inhaling videos. That is absolutely how my kids are getting their information. Is this what you're seeing?

Heaven: Yeah, well like you just said, it's hard for not just teens but for adults as well—it's so much content, so much information coming at us all the time. But some new research just came out recently from Common Sense Media, and they concur with what you're finding. Teens are getting most of their information from social media and from YouTube. 
So, in the class I just taught, I suggested to WOW! students that making a YouTube video of yourself presenting or speaking or even reading your books is a great idea. If you're a young adult author, you should be making videos and posting them to Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitter. (Teens are not on Facebook. Facebook is for us old people.)

Look, I am giving this advice, and this is how many videos I have made: 0.

But V-I-D-E-O is written up on my dream/goal board now, and I know it's something that Angela and I have talked about for social media: Instagram stories and FacebookLive and more. So many videos and information are free out there; and if you want people to pay for your books or your speaking or your class, then you're probably going to need to give them a taste of what you're like because you can be sure that some other author is doing that already.

I'll be honest--this video craze scares me--I'll have to shower and put on makeup!  But we've all heard the quote from Dune about fear being a mindkiller, so join with me and let's try to make some videos and further our careers.

The YouTube addict is pictured above...:) 
The next School Visits and Author Talks for Children’s and YA Writers and Illustrators starts on October 16 and ends before Thanksgiving and the crazy holiday season. If you are a children's or YA author, giving these talks is a must for your marketing plan. Sign up here. Find out more about Margo on her site.


  1. Margo--Shower? Yes. Makeup? Yes. But perhaps you don't have to get completely dressed. Maybe just a shirt--as long as you don't move around your phone/camera too much? ;)

    Aaargh. What happened to the good ol' days... the days when writers hunched over their desks, their quill pens clutched in their hands, occasionally pausing to dip the pen in their bottle of ink? No Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Youtube back then...

    At some point, I'll be taking this advice. But not quite yet.

    Are you planning on paying your daughter? She's going to be a Youtube consultant for you, right? ;)

  2. Margo,
    My twenty-year old is a Youtube fanatic. Even my husband. But I can read faster than I watch so I prefer text. Still . . . I see the appeal.

    I have a few questions about your class. I'll e-mail you when they gel.

  3. Hey Sioux: Not to sound old-fashioned, but she is paid in room and board already. :) I told her I blogged about YouTube today and she rolled her eyes at me. LOL

    Sue: Great! I look forward to your email!

  4. Margo--I'm old AND old-fashioned. My kids ate and slept in and wore their "allowance." My son lived on his college fund as well (we only had enough money to live on, and for trumpet lessons--we didn't have money to set aside for college)--hence we're now paying off a student loan.

    Rolling her eyes at you? That just proves she's a typical kid. ;) And I was kidding about paying her, but don't let her read the comments, because she's a sharp kid and might get into her head that she SHOULD get a consultant's fee.

  5. Margo ~ Wow, I'm so interested in KT's Youtube shows... slime and clothes switching challenges! :) My husband watches a lot of Youtube videos...things like Public Freakouts. Lol

    Videos are on my list, too. I actually like appearing on video, but it's just another thing to add to my list! I want to create some videos reading excerpts with music and photos. WOW's instructor Naomi Kimbell makes these amazing videos of her excerpts with her iPhone only! They have her photos/video and sounds she records and mixes into her own music. They are their own art form. I know this is different than what you're talking about, but it's an idea, and a creative way to do a reading.

  6. Angela: That's cool. I love people using creativity and video! to create unique experiences for readers and fans. I know also that iPhones make this all so easy, so it is definitely my fear that is stopping me!


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