Monday, July 23, 2012

Why Those Under 25 Shouldn't Think They Know Everything

There was much online chatter over the weekend as a result of Cathryn Sloane's rather ridiculous post, "Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25." Kudos to Deb Ng over at Blogworld for writing such a thoughtful response, highlighting the importance of life experience in our careers. Deb states, for example,

"There’s a reason entry level jobs exist. They exist because people, even people with a degree, have to gain experience. Just because one wrote for one’s college newspaper or have a blog doesn’t make one experienced. It doesn’t even make one stand out in the crowd. You can’t learn experience from a text book or buy it at Office Depot. Experience has to age for a while before it works properly."

My response is quite simply, that Ms. Sloane's logic is flawed, as she bases her entire premise on the theory that what we grew up with sociologically, comes naturally to us as a career.


Take this ridiculous paragraph:

"You might argue that everyone, regardless of age, was along for the ride, or at least everyone under the age of 30. I’m not saying they weren’t, but we spent our adolescence growing up with social media. 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."

What? "Thrown upon us?" "Best/ correct" use? Ms. Sloane sounds a bit confused for someone so knowledgeable.

A few additional points:

*I have handled social media for over a dozen clients and in the workplace. In every scenario, I drew upon my years of writing when it came to capturing the brand and voice of an organization or business. This is one of the key elements of social media done right, and it comes with experience.

*Many of the twenty somethings I have observed doing social media are in love with the toolkit, but give no thought to strategy. This is another key element of social media done right, and it comes with experience.

*A large part of social media is based on sharing and patience, both to grow an organic community that is there because they want to be, and to provide the relevancy needed to keep it all sustainable over time. It's highly unusual for those in their twenties to have a sophistication about either of these, but rather, they come with experience.

*During my adolescence, you could say I was immersed in (up close and personal) with "The Partridge Family," "The Ice Capades," and my "Easy Bake Oven." But I didn't go on to play guitar in a rock band, or become a figure skater, or a dessert chef.

Do you see the difference?

This post is not only "off putting," to say the least, but suggests that Ms. Sloane would surely benefit from an experienced editor reviewing her writing prior to publication. Preferably someone over 25, who was raised during that archaic period when the delete symbol was used.

-Carrie Jaffe-Pickett
writer, editor




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