11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old SHOULD Run Your Social Media

For those who have read: 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media,
here is a full fledge rebuke: because I respectfully disagree.

The article is headlined as above and says this: ”Sure, she understands Instagram. But do you really want a new grad controlling your brand online?”

And then the picture shows a young person gossiping with the other (an OMG moment).

I give @hollisthomases  credit for publicly engaging with the backlash and comments on her article but  for the most part, I disagree with every reason she gives you not to trust 20 somethings with your social media.

I find this post highly offensive. Not only am I about to turn 23, I have been working in social media for over two years and have been told I am quite mature.

Does Age matter? I find that this example of age discrimination. Businesses often tell me that they want to hire someone young because they understand social media and who could be better than this. The author thinks that this rationale is unreasonable. I agree and disagree with it. Being a digital native means it is easier for me to share though not all of my peers are like that. Being older means that you are more careful about what you share – though there are the same risks that are there with younger folks – over-sharer or under-sharer. So, I rest my case: Age doesn’t really matter when it comes to risk.

There are two glaring benefits of hiring someone new though: 

1- New Perspective –  it’s easy to get bogged down in internal politics and continue the inward looking approach in the company social media. This results in awkward tweets such as: We are a first-class holistic treatment company. You can call us to find out more.

2- Starting from scratch – Nothing excites a social media enthusiast more than a blank slate. This can stop the whole Retweet-to-win competition charade and the boring monotony of same tweets. The brainstorming stage doesn’t have to be handed over to the new hire alone. It should atleast involve the marketing department.

Let me tell you why I am offended and then I will provide a rebuttal to every single reason she gives you.

1.  They’re not mature enough.

The article tells us that young people feel ‘unstable’,’self-focused’ and ‘would rather explore who they are and how they can transform their lives’(ever heard of mid-life crisis?). This is supposed to be bad for businesses because ‘social media is all about communicating with your audience in mature and accountable ways.’  I don’t consider having a self-reflective spirit to be immature. To evolve is to innovate.

And even if anyone is going through a phase of self-discovery – it doesn’t neccessarily follow that they will be expressing that in the company posts. Can you imagine this happening:

@xylettingagents I saw Eat,Pray, Love and boy did it make me doubt my spiritual conscience. Btw, we have a wicked flat in Nottingham. Check it out here. 

I’m guessing you are smiling and coming to the conclusion it was intended for: No.

I agree that a mature and professional person should handle the social media account for business and this tweet sums it up perfectly:

Hiring an immature worker says more about the recruitment process than the age group the worker belongs to.

2.  They may be focused on their own social-media activity.

The warning that comes with this reason is that a young person will be needing monitoring on how they use their social media. Brands should actively encourage employees on using their social media during work(at a natural pace) because personal networks are fundamental to most jobs.

3. They may not have the same etiquette–or experience.

‘make sure you check out the substance of his or her updates and posts’,  ‘social-media policy in place.’

I agree a social media policy is a must for any organisation. Corporates tend to want to have tighter control over brand portrayal and ‘tone’. Issues like ‘tone’ and ‘content style’ should be the first thing discussed and decided for any brand – the age of the implementer should not matter. Even if a young social media enthusiast is your key to the world of social media for business, their input should prove invaluable on the required tone by doing research and competitior analysis: Market Research 101. I pride myself on a good work ethic and so do many other 23 year olds who are freelancers, entrepreneurs, interns and professionals.

4.  You can’t control their friends.

‘Even if you hire a real winner, be sure that his or her friends won’t post inappropriate content to your company’s social-media accounts’.

This is the one that bothered me the most. A 23 year old is not a 11year old. I don’t know a single person in my 582 friends on facebook who will post an inappropriate picture on my Client’s or company page. And you can always delete inappropriate posts – it should not matter who posts them.

5.  No class can replace on-the-job training.

On this, I am completely with the author. On-the-job training is important as always. I have two reactions to it:

a) Never heard of any university teaching social media. Some university students and professionals can claim to ‘know social media’ because they have experience or studied Marketing. This is a warning sign. Set a graduate/marketing professional a social media task and see how they do?

b) If you are entrusting your business account to a social media newbie then it is wrong whether that person in 23 or 50.  Invest a little money in training them – externally or internally. I have trained many young people(yes, sometimes a 23 year old can teach another 20 something) and even one day of training can provide enough guidelines for newbies to avoid major disasters.

6.  They may not understand your business.

No new hire will be able to absorb these issues overnight, of course–but a brand-new graduate will have an even steeper learning curve.

Attitudes like this are what cause graduate depression(yes there is such a thing!). People require experience from graduates but are unwilling to hire the ones who are eager to learn. This is the vicious cycle hard to get out off. If you want an in-house graduate to handle your social media and they are lacking the experience you want – why not get them trained or pay for them to shadow an experienced social media consultant.

7.  Communication skills are critical.

This is so patronizing Many young people have not yet learned the “art” of communicating. Make sure they know how to read between the lines, rather than taking things too literally.

Let me put this into context:

Social media is principally about understanding people and being good with people. That is the deciding factor behind having the right mind for social media. Saying a younger professional does not understand the oh-so-difficult ‘art of communication’ because of the age factor is like saying I am unable to network and connect with people older than me. I am a power networker and usually, the youngest in any networking meeting I go to- I have never once have a problem. And the awkwardness that lasts a few second because of the visible difference in age disappears online completely. Most of the time, it is impossible to tell the age of the tweeter if a business account is being handled professionally.

8.  Humor is tricky business.

Could not agree more but it has nothing to do with age.

Will a young hire understand the boundaries of humor and entertainment appropriate to your target audience, or could your audience wind up being offended?

Three words: do your research. Don’t hire someone with a skewed sense of humour. Anyone can have a weird sense of humour.

9.  Social-media savvy is not the same as technical savvy.

I was going to say that it is quite obvious and most people do appreciate the difference( a programmer doesn’t translate it into  a pinterest fanatic) but since I’m young and immature, lacking the art of communication, I’m going to say: Duh.

10. Social-media management can become crisis management. 

The real-time nature of social media can quickly turn fun engagement and conversation into a public relations disaster, especially if the person behind the wheel isn’t thinking a few steps ahead. Are you really willing to take that risk?

I can fill a book with examples of major PR disasters because people did not react properly or instigated something. I have one example in particular in mind where a barrade of social media criticsm was ignored and only a statement was released after a major PR fiasco. Would the author blame the 45 year old twitter account user from a PR firm as much as she should blame a younger tweeter?

11. You need to keep the keys.

And this is something all companies need to take care off. All social media accounts should be to a general socialmedia@ blah blah .com. Again. I don’t understand why this is age-specific. The end line is that the company or recruiter needs to manage the social media implementer.

The impression the article gives is that a 23 year old after making a mistake will break into a Tulisa ‘Forgive me for what I have done – cuz I’m young’ with a flashmob of her/his friends dressed inappropriately being live tweeted and video broadcast-ed on the company facebook page.

That, unfortunately(because that would very funny!) does not happen.

But I’m guessing most of you knew that already…

This bothered me enough to write about this. What do you have to say about this? I would love to know what you have to say about this. 

Some twitter comments I have got so far..

This entry was published on August 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm. It’s filed under entrepreneurship, random, social media, students, university, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old SHOULD Run Your Social Media

  1. I absolutely agree with you. I don’t think it has anything to do with age but all with maturity and a strategic mind.

  2. tomdavies89 on said:

    Great blog Hera, totally unbiased view as I’m currently 23 and crave a job working in social media!!
    Is there much agreement in the industry from your point of view?

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