Does Age Matter?

Should every social media manager be under 25? Should they be 37.5 years or older? I think it is easy to forget, and in the articles regarding this topic, people seemed to forget a lot. The initial article and the follow-ups are almost angry, like the authors forgot that they all do the same job. The older social media managers claim that the young ones are irresponsible, and the younger ones claim that the older ones are out of the loop. 

 

Personally, I initially agreed with Cathryn Sloane’s article, “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.” As a college student a little younger than Ms. Sloane, I found myself in the same boat as her. I did grow up with Twitter, and Facebooking comes second nature to me. After reading her article, I was completely convinced that every social media manager should be under 25 years of age. As a college student, this article almost gave me hope that I could find a job upon graduation.  

 

Ms. Thomases of Inc.com on the other hand came off incredibly snarky. Her article title “Social Media: Don’t Put an Intern in Charge,” was frankly very rude. She opens her article by saying “Pardon the generalization,” which is like saying no offense before openly insulting someone. This summer, I was an intern at WXRT-FM, a radio station in Chicago that has been around for 40 years. That is twice my age. Yet even as a “lowly” intern, I was allowed to write articles and blog posts for their website, and post them myself. While I was not allowed to tweet from the account myself, I did write the tweets that accompanied my articles, and guess what? My articles and tweets brought traffic to the website, meaning I was not completely incompetent.

 

Maybe at 20 years old, I am not ready to manage social media for a company. But in three years, I might be. As Lauren Rothering put it in her article “Why Millennials Should Handle Your Social Media,” age does not directly translate to maturity. Just because I am in college does not mean that I am out doing kegstands Thursday through Sunday, or that I constantly abbreviate phrases to three or four letters. 

 

While I no longer agree that all social media managers should be under 25 years old, I do think that the majority of them should be, or at least under 30. From my personal and professional experiences, they seem to best handle social media. However there are exceptions. Brands are different. They target different people, and their social media managers may be a reflection of that. And that is something I am completely understanding of. There are 65 year olds who know much more about tweeting than I do, and they know what their audience wants to hear. And I am willing to give those 65 year olds a chance. I just wish Ms. Thomases was also willing to give us millennials a chance. Especially without her condescending tone. 

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One thought on “Does Age Matter?

  1. Stephanie – Nice post and I appreciate your perspective. Maturity is a good sign, and in many of the visceral responses to Sloane’s post there was a clear lack of maturity.

    All that said, I come from a different perspective. I grew up with social media as much as your generation did. On the cutting edge of many technologies I was adopting it and using it as much as you were. I frankly believe that we shouldn’t be judged by our age but rather our ability to understand the channels and tools and then apply them in a business sense. Once you understand the brand, category and consumer you can become even more valuable as a social media manager or in another marketing position.

    Tool sets and platforms come and go. It is the true marketing and business sense that matters most.

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