I’m in my early 20’s, so I’ve seen my fair share of popular trends weave in and out of popularity. They’ve ranged from popular clothing trends to public social trends, much like the current trend of millennial bashing. It seems much of what our generation has been doing is not sitting well with today’s older folk. While rather annoying at times, it is understandable. My generation has done some really stupid things.
That said, I do feel we should be cut some slack. So imagine how eager I was when a professor of mine assigned us to read “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25”, a NextGen Journal article that’s gotten a bit of attention.
I was, for lack of a better word, disappointed with what I had read. I’m sure Ms. Cathryn Sloane meant no harm in writing this article, but this was nothing close to the “logical millennial generation defense” I was hoping to find (for a decent one, check out this article by HackCollege). She just dropped the ball on this one.
Personally, I found that her reasoning made no sense. It may just be that I’m a marketing student, but I feel its common sense to assume that business and organizations use social media as a branding tool. You know, to get their name out there among other things. Thus, trusting a whole company brand strategy onto somebody who just graduated is incredibly risky, a perspective many of the negative criticisms seem to agree with.
Sure, in terms of finding a job right after graduation, maybe five to ten years of experience is a little unfair. Believe me when I say that puts people like me at a huge disadvantage. However, here’s the way I look at it: if I’m the owner of a solid, expanding company, I would rather have someone with a few years of branding/marketing strategy experience under their belt than a recent graduate. As much as I would be thrilled to have a job like that right after graduation, I know that it wouldn’t be the smartest move on the hiring manager’s behalf.
One aspect that I love about social media is how adaptable and easy it is to use. Anyone can learn how to use it. While I agree that some people have a better handle on social media than others, I don’t think that it’s impossible to learn. I just joined Twitter and Tumblr less than a year ago and I’ve quickly adapted to it. In terms of social media management, I don’t see why experienced professionals wouldn’t be able to rapidly adapt and apply years of industry knowledge to their new platforms. Admittedly, I wouldn’t be able to that. At least, not yet.
Overall, the article just came off as ignorant. According to her bio, Sloane is an English major and seems to have no ties to the Public Relations/Marketing industry which is probably why so many have attacked her and the editors for publishing the article. I can understand where she might have been coming from; having younger folk behind a social media strategy plan sounds good in theory. However, she argues that because younger generations have learned to use social media “socially” before professionally, they should make better prospects to be behind the social team. That indicates to me that she doesn’t really understand the concept. Just take a glance at my social feeds; those individuals are definitely not suited to be running a social strategy.
“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.”
I don’t think so Ms. Sloane, but you get points for trying, right? I’m sure she’ll learn a thing or two from the reaction of this article. A friendly tip from yours truly: get a little research in on everything you write about, even if it is just an opinion piece or something you’ve known about for years. But hey, we’re young, we make mistakes, and we learn from them. Everybody’s been there, even all the critics. I’m sure we’ll be complaining about the kids who were born into this digital, “always-connected” world and judge their every move. So head up Miss Sloane, things will get better. But should every social media manager be under 25? Definitely not.