visit bigwidesky.com

Your Social Media Manager Should Not Be Under 25

image

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jobrien.global James O’Brien

    LARRY!

  • http://twitter.com/NVEchols Noah Echols

    I want to assume this is just link bait, but the passionate, some might say youthful, presentation of this argument suggests otherwise. While I agree to a certain extent that experience managing large campaigns is indeed mandatory for someone charged with developing the very public social voice of a brand, there is something to be said for Millennials’ comfort in the space. And you’d think an agency that so loudly touts the importance of the human connection would understand the cultural implications of being a digital native.

    While living in Atlanta doesn’t make me a better driver than someone who lives in St. Louis, I am much better at driving in Atlanta than someone who is new to the city. Make sense? 

    Digital natives speak the language, crave the connection, and understand the unspoken rules of digital communities. While a 60 year old can learn those things, I really appreciate having young community managers on my team. Yes, age is but one cultural variable, but as far as social media is concerned it is a rather important one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/IronButterfly09 Kathy Ioannou

    Right on… Thanks for being a voice of reason!