My response to “Why Every Social Media Manager Should be Under 25”

I am blown away by how seriously people have taken this post “Why Every Social Media Manager Should be Under 25” by Cathryn Sloane, a recent college graduate who writes part time for NextGen and has even had her work featured in USA TODAY.

In short Sloane argues that her generation (my generation) understands social media better than any other generation, because we grew up with it and used it before anyone else for social purposes.

That argument is okay, if she had put in any effort at all to make it compelling. The article uses no facts, and instead makes  judgements and assumptions the whole way through. Kat French makes a great point in her rebuttal post, that it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid using hyperbole and absolutes in journalism. Sloane uses absolutes a few times throughout the piece.

“incorporating comforting social aspects into professional usage seems to go over several companies’ heads”

“Several” is the key word here. There are a few companies that have bombed social media, but it’s not a huge gaping problem in America. Adults are not running wild ruining social media for the youth as they spew corporate, non-social stuff into our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

When I read this article I read something that appeared to be quickly put together, proof read for typos, and posted online. It’s not horrendous by any means, it just…not very good. This girl has written dozens of other articles for NextGen, most receiving 2 comments max. Maybe she even wrote the post because she wanted to spice things up and start some conversation and debate in the comments. She was not expecting a huge backlash from adults.

I read the comments and some of them are just plain stupid. I understand why people generalize my entire generation in the comments- look at the article they are commenting on. But it still peeves me. This girl wrote a stupid article, so please don’t associate the rest of my age group with this article, and don’t claim that my generation is “entitled.”

Entitled people come from all walks of life and are of all ages. In some ways my generation has it very cushy. But you also have to remember that some people ages 20-25 are up to their eyeballs in student loan debt and are working minimum wage jobs to cover the interest payments. We are the same generation that is working 40 hours per week in unpaid internships. And I’m not just talking about those of us who majored in Classical Roman Studies: I’m talking about those of us who majored in education, finance, business, communications, political science, etc. Majors that others had told us would lead to jobs. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just equally frustrated by misunderstandings, the same way these adults are annoyed at this stupid article by Sloane.

As for my personal opinion on the actual topic of the article? I’ve had an interest in social media since 8th grade. I do think it’s an advantage that I had my high school years to waste away hours on my xanga blog, photobucket account and myspace page. Social Media comes easily to me, I pick it up fast and understand the pro’s and con’s of different platforms. It comes so easily that sometimes I’m blown away that I get paid to use it at work. But it has certainly helped me to work with adults (mostly young adults, I have to admit) that have a background in customer service and marketing, to learn how to most efficiently use these platforms in a work environment. I still have weak points in many areas, and it’s been great to practice using social media both for personal branding (yuck, I hate saying that) and as a way to help build engaged communities around a product. I think my co-workers appreciate how young I am, and I appreciate the mature demeanor and experience they show me daily.

In a time where the CEO of facebook just turned 28, it’s pretty obvious that we can’t assume any position should be filled with people above or below a certain age. I know this, and most 22 year olds know this. So please don’t assume we are all entitled idiots because of one silly piece of unconvincing writing.

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3 thoughts on “My response to “Why Every Social Media Manager Should be Under 25”

  1. Hi, Julia. Thanks for linking to my post. Like you, I was a surprised at how seriously everyone took Cathryn’s original post. I think her USA Today credits gave her just enough credibility people decided she was fair game at being held accountable to a professional journalistic standard.

    Like you said, it was a silly post by a semi-professional writer (and on a relatively off-the-radar blog, to boot.) But at the point where it’s getting coverage on HuffPo and Forbes(!), it becomes a relevant new item related to social media, and thus worth responding to on SME.

    You make an excellent point, that people in the comments lumped your whole generation and lobbed word-grenades like “entitled” around. I think the article hit two different nerves: one, among your generation, surrounding the exact issues you’ve mentioned. A tough career outlook, a lot of debt and few opportunities even when you made all the “right” choices. I think it hit another nerve in my generation (GenX), related to being chronically written-off and undervalued by Boomers. A lot of us are sensitive to what we perceive as Millenials displaying the same “you have nothing to contribute” attitude.

    We’ve all got a lot of baggage on this journey. If we’re going to be rubbing elbows, we could all stand to show a little more courtesy, yes?

  2. Your response echoes my thoughts exactly – great work! But it stung a little every time you referred to ‘adults’ vs your (our) generation. Don’t discount yourself too quickly by snubbing yourself from that category! This debate, along with awesome things like a 28-year-old FB CEO, show just how ‘grown-up’ 20-somethings really are 🙂

    • Hey Dana, thanks a lot for the comment! Slowly but surely I’m starting to realize I too, am an adult. The realization doesn’t come as naturally as you’d think it would, haha.

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