Cathryn Sloane at the University of Iowa wrote a post that was particularly insulting to anyone, well… over 25. Sloane wrote, “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25,” in nextGen Journal, and said,
“We were around long enough to see how life worked without it but had it thrown upon us at an age where the ways to make the best/correct use of it came most naturally to us. No one else will ever be able to have as clear an understanding of these services, no matter how much they may think they do.”
So, I’m writing this open letter to Cathryn:
Your sentence, “No one else will ever be able to have as clear an understanding of these services, no matter how much they may think they do,” really angered me. No one should be judged by age alone, as your post, “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25,” suggests. Just because you had the luxury of having these things around as you were growing up doesn’t give you better insights for social media than those of us who have been in the trenches as social media developed, and have been using it successfully over time.
On the contrary, I’d say that you may understand social media, but you can’t possibly have as much experience with people. You lack experience where sociability really counts. You may have a great start on things, but nothing you can point to could possibly compete with years and years of people experience, and yes — year for year– experience that matches yours in the social arena.
Later in the article, you also wrote:
“The truth is, regardless of age, some people have a better handle on social media than others.”
I’ll agree with you there, for sure, as it’s an accurate statement.
I grew up in online business starting in 2003, before Facebook, before Twitter — where I was one of the first adapters, I might add — and before most of the other social sites were even glints in developers’ eyes. In the early years, we didn’t use these social sites for business. On the contrary, none of the gurus saw social media sites as viable marketing tools at the time. They were “time wasters.”
Of course, opinions have changed, but in the beginning, we chatted, we communicated, we built our friends lists and had a really good time – at the same time and rate as you did. Just because you were kids then doesn’t make you special. I can match Kred scores with you, and guess who’ll win?
It’s NOT about age.
You can be good at social media, even though you’re young, I agree. There should never be age discrimination, one way or the other.
But youth doesn’t automatically make you better at social media. Believe it or not, some of we baby boomers still have chops, too. Add to that determination, dependability, precision and more social experience, in general, and then, you tell me, Who’s the bigger bargain?
So what do you think? Are you a young 20-something or a Baby Boomer, like me, or somewhere in between. Do you think kids have an edge? Or is this just another ploy to get us to move along into those golden years that we’re always hearing about but can’t afford? I’m thinking the latter.