You may have heard recently that your company should hire community managers who are age 25 or under. Well, this over-the-hill social media professional is here to tell you why you shouldn’t listen to everything you read…especially this.
In a blog post on NextGenJournal.com, newly graduated Cathryn Sloane gives a courageous account of the ideal community manager for a company’s social media marketing campaign. This person is implementing marketing strategies for brands via social media on a daily basis. Sloane’s advice for picking the right candidate draws the line in the sand with not experience or education, but age.
The bummer here is not any level of real ignorance. It’s that Sloane had a couple good points that were unfortunately inserted into an article whose purpose is entirely unrelated to the real issue at hand, and which has no leg to stand on in the first place. It’s true that certain generations are at a more “impressionable” stage in their lives to accept technological change and adapt excitingly. But that point fits better in an article about how we should all be properly diagnosed with A.D.D.
“Age ain’t nothin’ but a number,” as they say. It’s true that those in their twenties (all of those twenties, by the way) had an opportunity to grow up with social media to connect with anyone who would accept a friend request, even before learning how to implement those same tools with a strategic, marketing mind. But to say that anyone outside that generation who may have learned social media a little differently cannot represent your company’s online presence as effectively is absolutely ridiculous and discriminatory.
Even though I’m only 2 years outside of Cathryn’s requirements, I’m old enough to remember downloading AOL from a disk, cheering for joy over 40 free hours of Internet access, waiting patiently for the dial-up to connect me to the World Wide Web, and eagerly editing my Geocities weblog. We’ve not only come a long way in technology, we’ve come a long way as a tech-savvy culture. And I don’t have enough characters in this post to list all the brilliant and inspiring old people who prove this and teach me something new every single day.
Choosing your marketing department based on age is as inappropriate as only measuring the number of Facebook fans your business has. Your digital marketing success relies on deeper qualities, so don’t chalk it up to the superficial.