I just read this article “Why every social media manager should be under 25“. It’s well written but I’d have to disagree with it on a number of points.
1) the writer asserts that because people of her generation have grown up with social they instinctively understand it’s honest, upfront and energetic nature.
”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. “
Arguably this applies to anyone over the age 25 too.
2) Understanding the inherently sociable nature of social media platforms doesn’t fit you for running a business social programme. Understanding the needs and demands and pitfalls of business communications combined with that understanding of social media platforms fits you for running a business social programme. That’s why businesses are asking for people with 5-10 years of direct experience.
3) We all know stories of young social media “experts” who have caused embarrassment on a business level because they weren’t savvy enough to know when to argue and when to stop, what to say and how to say it and what not to play around with. The case of Tom Watson MP’s intern is just one recent example. An internt too unprofessional to know what kind of mistakes can easily be made and what not to play around with. See here
The term Manager implies a level of responsibility that requires experience. It’s true that there are some precocious, intelligent under 25s out there who would make good social media managers but this is the world of business. And business feels safer with someone experienced. It’s always been that way. I spent a year trying to get a job after graduating from Oxford because I hadn’t got enough experience, while people who had been on more business focused, experiential degrees sailed past me into graduate traineeships and interesting jobs. They had experience, I didn’t, end of discussion.
If you are an aspiring social media manager under 25 the best bet is to volunteer, to build that experience and to approach younger more daring companies or charities that are more open minded and prepared to invest time. But don’t assume at 25 that anyone older than that only uses it for business, doens’t understand it and can’t possibly be as instinctively engaged as you are. It’s about a mindset and the willingness to learn and experience and 15 years out from 25 I can tell you that doesn’t change.