Social Media and Creativity

Authored by: Kylie Peppler

The Routledge International Handbook of Children, Adolescents and Media

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415783682
eBook ISBN: 9780203366981
Adobe ISBN: 9781134060559


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Today’s youth, aged 8–18, are avid media consumers, as evidenced by usage trends on sites like YouTube and Facebook, and from ever-increasing participation in online videogame communities (Rideout et al., 2010). New social tools for creating and viewing user-generated content present a substantial shift in the ways that participants in youth culture leverage electronic media to interact and learn from each other. The Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that social media participation is relatively universal among high-school-aged youth across the United States, irrespective of race or class (Rideout et al., 2010). Furthermore, the lines between consumers and producers are being blurred in such spaces, what Jenkins and others refer to as the new “participatory culture” (Jenkins et al., 2009). The extent to which youth move fluidly between consuming and producing media is a by-product of widely available creative tools and Web 2.0 platforms that enable youth to experiment with technology that was previously the exclusive domain of professionals. Notable pockets of youth are creating and sharing media, with some studies even suggesting that 77 percent of social network teens are creating some type of content (Lenhart and Madden, 2007). Though some studies argue that teens use social media platforms primarily for consumption (Chau, 2010; Pempek et al., 2009), longitudinal trends indicate that production practices are steadily on the rise; for example, 39 percent of online teens electronically share original artistic creations (such as artwork, photos, stories or videos) up from 33 percent in 2004, and one in four teens also report remixing content they found online into their own creations, up from 19 percent in 2004 (Lenhart and Madden, 2007).

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