How to stay in the loop of what's trending with your students

How we stay in the loop, magazines in the mail with their
electronic editions also loaded on our Ipads.

First, I am not saying being trendy is a youth ministry essential. In fact, I've never been one to dismiss any dorky, out of touch, needy, can't relate to teens, awkward youth min volunteer. Sure, if you've broken several of the behavior codes on our youth volunteer contract, than we might will have a conversation leading to a volunteer dismissal. Even the most awkward youth volunteers, can stack chairs, hand out name tags, fold mailers, pass out pens, staff the donut table, and do a multitude of ministry without hindering your youth group. With that being said, I am still an advocate for trends. Not partaking in all of them necessarily, but as a youth ministry leader, you should at least know what your students are talking about.

My handsome husband is a middle school teacher. This past weekend I had the good pleasure of chaperoning a middle school dance with him at his school. Costco cookies, tortilla chips, and a ratio of 1 middle school guy to 15 middle school girls permeated the room. It was epic. While standing in the back of the room, holding our plate of chips and guacamole, I had  fun chatting up the middle school teachers about what songs were big with the students right now. I discovered most of the adults were clueless as to what the Harlem Shake was, which led me to wonder, hey how can both 1) teachers and 2) youth workers stay more in the loop of what is trending with their students? Where is the magic list on the web or the twitter feed that can keep me 3 steps ahead of my teens, and not 4 weeks behind them? If for no other reason than giving me some good conversation material.  AND YES, so I can at least nod my head and know why the heck they keep randomly screaming and talking about goats.

So you can thank me later...and add a comment if you have more sites and twitter feed recommendations to add. Here is my list of...

How to Stay in the Loop of What is Trending with Your Students

1) Twitter
Your twitter feed is a fast (especially if you just want a quick glance) and easy way to stay in the know. You can also look to the left of your twitter feed for a "what's trending" in real time.  Here is what is trending at this moment:

 Twitter feeds I recommend (some with caution) to help youth workers and teachers keep up with what's trending:

@unrulymedia            (viral video chart)
@usweekly                 (celeb/entertainment news-use caution can be unsavory!)
@Whatstrending         (what is trending on Youtube)
@BuzzFeed                (what's buzzing on the internet/social media/entertainment)  
@ASOS_FF               (fashion)
@Polyvore                  (fashion)
@peoplemag               (celebrity/entertainment news)
@urbandictionary        (slang/word use-use caution...sometimes unsavory!)
@breakingnews           (news)
@HuffPostEdu            (education)
@trendingedtech          (educational technology)
@jkendrick                  (technology)
@HuffPostTech           (technology)
@cpyu                         (center for parent/youth understanding)
@Scholastic                 (scholastic books for teachers and students)
@seventeenmag           (Seventeen Magazine for teen girls)

Reminder: be careful...trending doesn't always mean appropriate content! Use caution and wisdom before sharing. 

2) Websites to visit 

Viral Video Chart-What people are watching and sharing 
What the Trend-What is trending and #hashtagging by Hootsuite Media
What's Trending on Youtube
Urbandictionary- Slang, what did they mean by that?
Topsy A great site to get a real time look at what is trending in videos, photos, news, etc...
Techspot What is trending in the tech world
Gameinformer Video games
Apple charts See top selling songs, apps, tv shows, movies, on itunes store.
Apple RSS feeds Add to your rss reader
Sports News
Books NY Times Best Sellers List
Pinterest Click through the categories that interest you and see what is "pinning"

3) Flipboard 
I love using Flipboard, and have found it to be an easy and fun way to subscribe and read all my favorite rss feeds, blogs, news, and articles in a digital magazine format. You can import your Google reader feeds, Facebook, Flickr  and find good content. I've found a lot of good sermon illustrations this way.  It's a great place to start if you are the kind of person who snuggles with an Ipad at the end of the day to catch up on Facebook, blogs, and see what newsworthy events are going on.

4) Old School
Just ask your kids or teens. They are typically more in the know than we are on what is current. My husband LOVES to ask these great questions and he ALWAYS gets people (teens and adults alike) talking:

  • "What apps are you playing these days?"
  • "What's the best YouTube video you've seen recently?
  •  "What's on your most played list on your ipod/iphone?"
  •  "What video games are you playing these days?" 
  •  "Are you watching any good TV shows (it's funny how many people say they don't watch TV but then end up having a ton of Hulu and Netflix they stream)
  • "What sports teams are you following?"
  • "Do you play any Fantasy sports?"
  • "Xbox, Nintendo wii, or Playstation?"

How do you stay in the loop with what is trending? Have a favorite Twitter feed, Blog, or Website you want to add? 

For fun:


  1. I have been thinking about this question for a while now! Well, actually only since my students scoffed at me for not knowing what the Harlem Shake is. I am only 21 and already out of the loop! I will be keeping my eye on these websites- THANK YOU!


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