I was recently emailed an article from a friend of mine titled “11 Reasons a 23 Year Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media”. Here’s the link to the original article for those of you interested:
I found this article both extremely ignorant and offensive – not just because I am 23 years old – in fact, not at all because of that, but because of the author’s completely ridiculous generalisation that all new graduates are immature and can’t be trusted with the important role of social media management within an organisation.
I was so angry at this article that I felt empowered to write my own response addressing each of the author’s points to stand up for my fellow soon-to-be-graduates, who have actually “grown up”, have a brain and a great set of life ambitions.
So here it is. 11 Reasons Why That Article is Complete Crap:
1. “They’re not mature enough” – This point said that compared with young people from previous generations, OUR generation do not feel like we have reached adulthood or that we are ready to focus on a career. Self-exploration and transformation are what gap years are for. I know a bunch of students who have no intention of entering the workforce straight from uni solely because they do not feel ready to start living their lives in a 9-5 day job within their chosen industry. Those people are taking a year or two off to go travel and see the world and do their own thing so they can figure out what they want in life. On the other hand, there are another bunch of people who are already actively looking to find a position in an organisation, who cannot wait to make their mark on the world in their selected industries. Those people are highly motivated, ready to take on the challenge, and of course are going to give their all to their new jobs. At university it gets drilled into us how much our lives are going to change once we get a 9-5 job in an agency. The ones who really want it will go for it and the ones who need time to do their own thing will go and do just that. It’s really the responsibility of the agency to make sure they hire someone who is ready, and really wants it.
2. “They may be focused on their own social-media activity” – This point went on about how young people in charge of managing social media would be too busy chatting or doing their own thing on Facebook instead of working. This applies to anybody accessing social media sites – not just young people FYI. I’m pretty sure there is absolutely no statistical evidence that given the opportunity to access Facebook, a young person would be more likely to take a look at their personal notifications than an older person. In fact, people in their late 30s and 40s spend more time on Facebook than young people in their 20s. THAT is statistical fact.
3. “They may not have the same etiquette—or experience” – This point talked about the possibility of the company’s profile being placed in the wrong hands after a drunken rampage late at night. Excuse me, but not all young people are wild, raving lunatics. I, and many of the people I know of my age, grew out of the drunken party phase after we turned 21. Not all young people are irresponsible, alcoholic partygoers. This point also discusses substance and style of the young person’s posts not reflecting the brand’s personality – in response to this; anybody of any age is obviously going to have to be briefed on the brand’s image and how they would like to be portrayed online. Again, there is no proper evidence that a new graduate is incapable of learning how to adapt to this.
4. “You can’t control their friends” – This point says basically make sure the new graduate’s friends wont post inappropriate content to the company’s social media pages. This is one of the most ridiculous points of the lot, in my opinion. Pages on Facebook are open to the public. ANYBODY can post on them, not just friends of your new young graduate. There is a huge trend at the moment on Facebook which is dubbed as “Fan Backlash” (I am actually going to write a rant about that at some point down the track cause it annoys the crap out of me). I’m sure everyone reading this knows what I’m talking about, but for those of you going “huh??” it’s those ridiculous long posts on company Facebook pages that say things like, for example, “Dear Channel Nine, you are putting too much emphasis on swimming at the Olympics” – Yep, those annoying posts. ANYBODY can make them, and a new graduate’s friends are not likely to go and ruin their friend’s new employment achievement. You can actually set up those fan pages so that all comments require admin approval before appearing to the public on the site. So really, if you use that precaution, there is no risk, and this point is indeed stupid.
5. “No class can replace on-the-job training” – This just says “how deep is the experience of a young person in delivering what your brand needs?” ….not even going to rant about this one… If companies aren’t training their new employees, they have bigger problems than worrying about social media management.
6. “They may not understand your business” – This point says that the young graduate may know how to work social media sites but probably doesn’t know the first thing about your business. How is this any different to a 43 year old new employee? Obviously, anybody new to any business isn’t going to know very much about what the company is all about. Again, it is the company’s responsibility to train their new employees on these things.
7. “Communication skills are critical” – This point says that most young people do not know how to communicate effectively. Again, this is a huge, annoying generalisation. Not all young people Tlk Lyk dis on da interWebZZzzz. Young people are plenty capable of developing strong communication skills before they hit the work force. We just spent three years at university focusing on how to write and present effectively in different contexts. Have some faith!
8. “Humour is tricky business” – This point questions whether young graduates understand appropriate humour for the brand’s target audience. Once again, young graduates are not incapable of understanding who the target audience is. It is exactly the same as putting a 50 year old in charge of a social media campaign targeted at teenagers. Their humour is a completely different style and will probably appear “daggy” or “stupid” to young people, unless, of course, you brief your employee on your target audience and how you would like them to use humour. Also, trust that they’ll do their research first. Not all young people are incapable of thinking outside the box and putting effort into ensuring they do things to the best of their abilities. Not all brand campaigns require the use of humour anyway.
9. “Social-media savvy is not the same as technical savvy” – This point says that young people need to know how to use both social media and the technology that is used to access different aspects of the social media site. Hate to break it to you, but our generation are built tech-savvy; we have grown up with technology. Case in point: it took me 30 seconds to work out how to use my iPhone – I am 23 years old; it took my mother who is in her 50s over 2 weeks to get used to it, and she still asks me for help from time to time. My grandmother still hasn’t figured out how to use a Nokia 3315 model. I’m in no way trying to insult my mother or my grandmother with this point, but what I’m trying to say is our generation are just naturally tech-savvy. We know how to work a computer and it’s programs, we know how to work various smart phones, we know computer symbols and what they mean, we feel comfortable sitting in front of a new piece of equipment and we learn how to use them quickly because we have been using them our whole lives. We are not adapting to something new, we are already technologically minded, there is no other way to put it.
10. “Social media management can become crisis management” – This point says that the new graduate could create a social media disaster if they are not thinking a few steps ahead and questions “do you really want to take that risk?” This point applies, again, to absolutely everyone responsible for taking over a social media site. Things escalate so quickly on the internet, and at times, they are often unpredictable. With the right attitude and care though, they can be avoided, but there is no reason why this is solely a concern for just young graduates as it could happen to anyone. Putting any company on Facebook is a risk, which is why Facebook doesn’t work for all businesses. If you do decide that Facebook is right for your company you have to make sure you monitor it and know how to deal with any disputes that might erupt; but once again, there should be on the job training for any new employee on company policies in regards to crisis management.
11. “You need to keep the keys” – This point basically says that you risk the new graduate not sharing passwords to the social media accounts and taking over them, leaving you with no access. What kind of people are you hiring???? Once again this is extremely rude to say that only young employees are inclined to act in a vengeful manner when taking over social media pages. Hire the right people and this won’t happen.
So there you have it; my response to this completely unfair, discriminatory article about my age group. We did not spend thousands of dollars becoming qualified to work in the media industry to be told that we are all just immature and incompetent.
To any young, soon-to-be graduates who happened to read that article, you CAN do an amazing job in your chosen field! Age does not determine capability, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. We are the future of media.
– Bel xoxo