Your Social Media Manager Should Not Be Under 25

A month or two ago, an article came out stating that every social media manager should be under 25. I passed the idea off as a silly notion and moved on. Recently, I’ve had several people say that social media should be left for younger people. This is absolutely wrong and couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Essentially this article reasons that your social media manager should be under the age of 25 because they’ve grown up with the technology and they are more comfortable with it. Can you believe that? A technology that evolves continually every year and they think they’ve grown up with it. The idea that they are better equipped to run social media for a company because they’ve grown up with the media is insane.  That would be like me saying that I’m a better writer because I’ve used Microsoft Word longer than they have. Give me a break. Learning how to use a social media platform is fairly simple. So simple in fact, six year olds can do it. Technical skills on a social media format don’t make you a great manager, because there are far more important things.

Do you want to know how to be a good social media manager? Be professional. Personally, if I were hiring someone to create a social media campaign I wouldn’t want someone fresh out of college. I want a person who understands exactly how powerful and important a campaign could be. A successful social media campaign isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants affair. If you want to execute a top-notch campaign, it takes a great deal of time, effort and research in order to be prepared. These responsibilities are simply to great to entrust to someone who hasn’t managed any other campaigns.

Perhaps the idea that social media isn’t as powerful, is why we would entrust it with less experienced people. I would argue the exact opposite. Social media provides the company a forum to interact with people in meaningful, two-directional conversations. I don’t know if the cost somehow lessens the perceived power of social media or if the social media ROI isn’t what executives are used to, but there are great opportunities and responsibilities to be found in social media.

The article continues with the notion that only people under the age of 25 can have witty or energizing comments. I guess I skipped the science lesson that mentioned losing creativity on your 25th birthday. It is true that no one over the age of 25 ever came up with anything unique, witty or funny. Getting old is the worst. The article continues to assume that older social media managers fail to produce anything but “tired, commercial statements”.

A professional social media manager, regardless of age, will produce thoughtful engaging content for their audience. I just think it makes sense to have someone in charge that has worked on various campaigns and has dealt with various problems in their past experience.

The young woman completes the article with the statement that “The mere fact that my generation has been up close and personal with all these developments over the years should make clear enough that we are the ones who can best predict, execute, and utilize the finest developments to come.”

This thinking is flawed on several levels. I would contend that someone ten years older who has seen all the changes in social media could better comprehend the implications these changes are going to have. If her thinking is correct that being “up close and personal with all these developments” makes you a better social media manager, people over 25 would be better equipped to work with Facebook because it has been around since 2004. I was still in college when Facebook was released and I’ve seen every change and revision that has been brought about. I’m well over 25.

It comes down to the fact that age isn’t as important as say, someone being reliable, capable, and hard working. However, I do think the article highlights the near sightedness of youth and how scary that concerning it would be to have in charge of your social media campaign.

Basics of Social Media Etiquette

Blake Fehl
in social media

Don't be a Ralph.

People often forget that social media is still very much in its infancy. Ten years ago if you asked an average person on the street if they used social media, you would’ve been greeted by blank stares. It isn’t so surprising that many people don’t understand etiquette on their favorite social networks. Just like in normal conversation, there are right and wrongs. Most people know that it isn’t okay to just shout during polite conversation or to invade the space of others. If you want a healthy online social life, there are many things to understand along the way.

1. Don’t Overshare

Everyone has oversharers on their Twitter and Facebook feeds (or you might be one yourself). These people have gone from forwarding joke emails, and instead brought their game to the much more expansive world of social networks. Not limited anymore to their weak email list, they are now bombarding you with pictures of famous politicians with questionable quotes through your feed, pictures of adorable cats with improper grammar, and “share this if you want to live forever!!1!!1″.

How do you figure out if you are oversharing? Judge by the responses you get. Are you getting lots of interaction on your posts? Good social media can be judged on the interaction it creates. Things like likes, comments, replies, and retweets can be a great indicator that what you are posting is being enjoyed. Did you post 15 things today and garner only 2 likes? Then you probably overshared.

It might seem nitpicky, aren’t social networks there to share new things? Yes, but if you alienate your audience, there is no rhyme or reason to the sharing. I’ve blocked dozens of people off my feed for posting numerous things that are uninteresting, childish, etc. I’d imagine a lot of these people don’t show up on most of their friends feeds for the same reason.

Remember, everything is better in moderation.

2. Be Mindful of Your Audience

While over at my parents house for Father’s Day, I sat on their couch and killed a bit of time on Facebook before we went out to dinner.  After a few minutes, I had scrolled down my newsfeed to a picture someone had shared of a dog that had been brutally dragged behind a car. The post went on to question who would do this to an animal, and decry animal abuse. I should make it abundantly clear that I love animals, and think animal abuse is horrible. This picture did nothing to change my stance on it, other than made it harder to enjoy my dinner.

Be mindful that most people are on social networks to kick back and relax, and this is by no means a reason for why you shouldn’t use it as a platform for your views. However, remember things like this are not going to help your viewpoint. Instead of posting a picture to her feed, this girl would have been better served by linking to the picture, and warning people of its graphic content.  She obviously had no ill intentions with the post, as a matter of fact she was disgusted enough that she felt others should sympathize with her on this matter.  With a little thought, she could’ve taken the same stance, and not offended with a graphic image.

It’s the same reason why you don’t curse in front of a clergy member in public, why you wouldn’t take your shirt off in a department store, or why you wouldn’t sing loudly during a movie. It is polite to be aware of others around you, and that everyone might not be okay with the same things you are.

3.  Lern 2 Rite Gud

No one is saying you have to be grammatically perfect, but it’s hard to read a post of any type that substitutes “u” for “you” and “ur” for “your”. It may be a generation gap, and something that makes me come off as a bit pedantic, but I tend to trust people who have stronger writing skills. There are plenty of people who will dismiss your intelligence if you can’t form a coherent sentence. You don’t need the writing skills of F. Scott Fitzgerald to appear competent on social media, but you do have to make sense. Mistakes will happen, but if they occur at an alarming frequency, expect people to tune you out.

4. Listen Up!

Have you ever had a friend who monopolizes conversations? It’s just as annoying across social networks. If you are constantly sharing, but never lend your insights to other peoples posts and tweets you’ll see a drop off in activity across your social platforms. Let’s face it, it’s called a social platform for a reason, and if there is no social interaction going on, then you’ve failed at your job.

Set aside a bit of time each day, and find a new person to interact with. It doesn’t have to be deep, it can be casual and a bit goofy if you like, as long as it creates a memorable moment. Going out and interacting with new people will expand your network, and will also help how people view you.

5. Create Your Own Content

One of the quickest ways to elicit an unfollow from me is simply never adding anything worthwhile to the conversation. Sure, I’m sure those photos you are sharing constantly on Facebook are a big hit in your household, and I know that the constant retweets of social media infographics are meant to be informing, but don’t you have anything funny, interesting, and helpful that are your own thoughts?

It’s great to share content, but there is a point where it becomes clear you lack a voice. Find new ways to add content that other people can share. It can be as simple as writing an opinionated blog post like this one. Once you are done, start pushing it across your network and see if it creates discussion. If it doesn’t, consider yourself a failure and never try again. Well, okay, maybe don’t do that. You should probably keep on putting yourself out there, and eventually something will resonate.

I’m sure there are many things I’m still many pieces of etiquette that I’m still missing, but some form of OCD only lets me post lists in multiples of 5. So, since I didn’t feel like writing 10, you’ll have to deal with this list. Tell me what I’m missing in the comments below.

The Social Media Olympics

So the 2012 Summer Olympics have finally begun. In the weeks leading up to the event, they were constantly being praised as the Social Media Olympics. Leading up to the event I started searching for all the best ways to utilize social media to follow the Olympics. This is an enormous opportunity for the Olympics to connect with their followers. At the same time these various platforms allow for people to critique the Olympics in real time. And with over 900 million Facebook users compared to the 100 million during the 2008 Summer Olympics, there are sure to be quite a few opinions voiced.

One interesting turn involving the use of social media, is that people attending the events will be restricted as to what they can post. An example of the new ruling is that while in the stadium people can film the event on their Smartphone, but they are not allowed to upload it to Facebook or any social media site.

Another problem that the Olympic committee could possibly face is the impressions that people receive from the athletes who are competing in the games. Kerron Clement voiced his opinion on how smoothly things were going upon first arriving to London, “Not a good first impression London” (via Twitter). In some cases the Olympic committee has had to respond to athletes’ tweets by suspending them from the games. The two cases revolved around racist tweets sent out by two different athletes.

Regardless of the problems that can possibly arise during the event, social media is providing us an opportunity to experience the games like never before. Perhaps one of the best ways to experience the games from a behind the scenes perspective is to follow the Twitter accounts of the athletes competing. We’ve complied a short list of the most popular American athletes to follow during the Olympics.


  1. Lebron James
  2. Alex Morgan
  3. Hope Solo
  4. Michael Phelps
  5. Ryan Lochte
  6. Kevin Love
  7. Lolo Jones


Or if you want to a chance to explore the Twitter accounts for all the athletes, you can use the IOC Olympic Athletes’ Hub. This website provides access to verified Facebook and Twitter accounts for the athletes past and present.

If you don’t want to just follow the athletes’ tweets there are other ways to follow the Olympics, including several apps to make the whole process easier.

Play Up – Free

This app allows you to follow the Olympics in real time, while socializing with other fans.

OPlanner – Free

This app has keeps track of the scheduling of all events. Plus, you can even set alarms for events you don’t want to miss.

Storify Olympic Page

This website collects all Olympic related stories from around the web and forms narratives as a way to follow the games.

Twitter/NBC Olympics Hub

This page will curate all the best information from the games. It is essentially a destination Twitter page for the Olympics.

This is the official U.S. Olympic page. On this website you’ll be able to find a great deal of coverage for anything involving the U.S. Olympic Team.

No matter how you want to follow and interact with the Olympics, you can be sure there is a method available. Sometimes the toughest part is just discovering what works best for you. We want to know, do you have a preferred social media tool you use for the Olympics?

Do we need guidelines when using social media to report the news?

On the morning of July 20, I awoke to learn of the horrific events that occurred in Colorado the night before. Throughout the day I scoured my various social media outlets for any new information. In most cases I found the same recycled information. However, there were quite a few stories that caused alarm about how we gather and consume information. These three cases range from mild to severe. They also highlight the how in the search for the newest information; you can stumble down the path of incorrect news.

The first instance occurred after reading an article about a plea from a young man who has the same name as the alleged shooter. The young man posted a statement on Facebook asking people to stop messaging him and his family. People so hungry for any information at all stormed this man’s Facebook account looking for any insight into the situation at all. This isn’t a perfect example due to the fact it doesn’t involve professionals. It is just the general public wanting to know more. By the end of the day numerous people with the name Jim Holmes had encountered this problem and were forced to deal with it in their own way.

Another example was a poorly timed tweet. This tweet provides a perfect example of how scheduling tweets can run amuck. The Twitter account of the NRA (@NRA_Rifleman) appears to have scheduled a tweet for Friday morning. The tweet stated “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” Obviously, this had been scheduled previously but it is still raises the question about being totally present and in control of your social media. Is it more important to release a message at a certain time or release the right message? In the hours after the tweet had been sent out, the tweet was deleted and eventually the entire account was removed.

The final situation began because of the media’s desire to be first, this situation occurred on ABC’s “Good Morning America”. The incident in question involved ABC’s News’s Brian Ross. Mr. Ross had learned that a Jim Holmes had joined the Tea Party the previous year. Mr. Ross did not specifically state that there were two Jim Holmes and did nothing to dispel the idea that the Tea Party was associated with the shooting. As a result of the reporting, the wrongly labeled Jim Holmes had received death threats. This is an excellent example of the dangers that can occur when the media jumps tries to be the first to release information without checking their sources. Mr. Ross and ABC have since issued an apology for the misinformation.

The first Facebook issue was relatively harmless. I’m sure it was frustrating for the various Jim Holmes, but in the end it was simply the general public being interested. The second case was in poor taste even if it wasn’t meant to be. Their tweet will cause no lasting damage and simply shows the danger of not being in complete control of your social media messages. The final situation is simply the irresponsibility of a professional journalist who used social media for research and never verifying the information.

What do you think? The social media resources available provide an unmatched resource to all their users. Should there be guidelines when using social media to research and report news?

Social Media Helps Create Collaboration.

For the last week St. Louis has been in a horrible heat wave. No mater where you turn, someone is telling you how hot it is. So I’ve been trying to come up with various ways to beat the heat this summer. My first thought was I could get a swimming pool, but apparently my landlord doesn’t want me digging holes in the backyard. Another option a traditional float trip. However, everyone else seems to have the same idea and the  Finally I concluded I should take the time to sample the abundance of craft breweries that have been popping up in St. Louis recently. What better way to beat the heat than with a cold beer?

So I started to search for my first brewery to try and somewhere along the way I started following the twitter accounts of most of the craft brewers in the area. Then I noticed something. The interactions that are taking place between the restaurants and breweries really highlight the power of social media. I couldn’t help but notice all the ways these two communities were working together to create a truly great dining experiences for St. Louis.

Food and beer typically go hand in hand. What about breweries and restaurants? And how do they get the ball rolling? It seems that with the help of social media the two are developing relationships like never before. The St. Louis’ food and beer community has been utilizing Twitter to not only update the public on the latest happenings at their establishments but also to announce the latest collaborations with others in the industry.

Almost everyday one of the local breweries sends out a tweeting complimenting a local restaurant and discussing which local beer went best with the amazing food they had. The restaurants also keep up with their social connections. The restaurants do a tremendous job of keeping the public updated about the new beers they have on tap, in addition to what will be available next.

These interactions have even resulted in an unexpected turn in their business interactions. Dave Bailey, the restaurateur of Chocolate Bar, Bailey’s Range, Rooster, and Bridge has joined forces with the crew over at 4 Hands to open a kitchen in their tasting room. The next kitchen is called 5th Wheel and turns out food that compliments the beer being brewed by 4 Hands. The Riverfront Times recently wrote an article about the new partnership.

Another interesting collaboration has been taking place between Perennial Artisan Ales and Farmhaus restaurant. Perennial worked with the staff at Farmhaus to create “Brew for the Crew”. The beer was designed to pair well with the Farmhaus menu. More information on the beer can be found in the article.

I find it very interesting how these online relationships have developed into serious culinary collaborations simply with the help of social media. Now is a terrific time to start becoming involved in the local culinary scene. Take the time to interact with some of the local establishments and treat yourself to some delicious food and a cold beer as you fight through the summer heat.