Jarter Jargon

Archive for July 2012

Recently, Cathryn Sloane caught major flak for her article, Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25. Now while I am sure Ms. Sloane had the best intentions and a pretty understandable idea as to why it would be true, I must agree with the large population of those who think she missed the mark completely.

Since the article was published, there have been many responses to the tune of “Hell yes! I am a recent grad and I love Facebook and Twitter! She’s totally right!” to “I’ve been working my way up for years; you have no experience.” In this day and age, I personally feel that there is a greater rift than ever between generations in the workplace.

In a previous blog post, I talked about how my generation seems to be a bit too entitled. It’s all too true. Students gearing up to graduate think they have it all figured out. It’s a hip new world out there, and they feel as though they know something everyone else doesn’t. The fact of the matter is, these same students are those who never actually apply what they’ve learned in class to the real world. They never have internships, they never research and stay up-to-date with the industry. They go to class, study enough to pass, and plan on graduating into their dream job.

New flash: it isn’t that easy.

Conversely, seasoned pros look at these “little kids” jumping head first into their professional careers and think that their years of experience give them an edge which, for the most part, is true. However, it all comes down to perspective.

Mathematicians set out to answer a problem, but over time find it difficult to even see the original problem because they’ve been staring at it for so long. It takes a fresh pair of eyes to see the problem from a new perspective. And in the long run, that’s exactly what we all need.

Recent graudates and old-time pros can both be great for a social media manager position, but it all comes down to perspective. A fresh set of eyes is great, and it goes both ways: recent grads coming in to help experienced professionals, professionals imparting wisdom upon newbies. It’s how knowledge has been built up for years and years.

Finally to Ms. Sloane’s point that social media managers should all be under 25. Recently, I’ve been put in the position to manage social media accounts for a lab in Milwaukee. While I haven’t started yet, my first reaction to finding out about the opportunity was a grand, inspirational plan to make this lab something extraodrinary. I have leveraged myself online through social media before, what could be so hard now? I’ve conquered it, right?

Wrong. I soon realized the scope of what it takes to command a brand’s social media channels.

After taking an emerging media class with Dennis Jenders (who has a great post on this topic here), after reading articles from Augie Ray, after seeing the incredible job Tim Cigelske has done with Marquette’s social media platforms, and after a little kick in my entitled generation’s booty from Katie, I can say that while I get what Ms. Sloane means, it’s difficult to fully appreciate where she is coming from when she herself is a recent-grad among the very entitled generation.

I’m 23 (under 25), and I think it’s safe to say I’d be extremely wary of taking the reins of a brand’s social media channels. Again, I think it’s the combination of the savviness that comes with a millenial and the experience that comes with an old professional. The natural savviness of millenials coupled with the knowledgable know-how of seasoned pros, it’s impossible to say that all social media managers should be under 25.


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