Social Media Managers: Does Age Matter?

One brave twenty-something graduate recently published an article on the Nextgen journal outlining her beliefs that social media management is work for the under 25’s, the Millennial’s or Gen Y. Her argument was clear: since the under 25’s grew up immersed in social media and were the rocket fuel that launched it, they are better informed and more experienced, and therefore are best suited to managing the social media profiles of brands, products and services. Bold claims.

Here’s how the situation unfolded

Her article received over 450 comments, and from what I could see not a single one was positive or supportive of her stance. She was largely dismissed as narrow-minded and ageist, and some even pointed out that this could harm her career.

Nextgen were quick to post a response which made it clear that her opinions are her own and not the views of Nextgen. They also called for people to stop hounding her personal account and to keep the criticism from getting personal.

Then came the response from the old folks: an angry 47 year old assigned himself as their spokesperson and offered up some life lessons for Cathryn Sloane. If you look to Twitter, you’ll see that every man and his dog has turned out some kind of blog post which outlines the many many ways in which Cathryn is intrinsically wrong.

Some of the best responses:

Chris Dessi posted this article on Social Media Today: “In Response: Cathryn Sloane’s Social Media Article” which included advice such as:

I’ve written a book on social media, I lecture on social media,  and I run a social media marketing firm.  So Cathryn, that makes me qualified to be a social media manager, not you.

Forbes contributor Kelly Clay chimed in with this response: “Should All Social Media Managers Be Under 25?” Kelly took the opposite stance and agreed with Sloane, with the help from marketing expert Kevin Hillstrom.

“I think you can be 52 and be a great social media manager. But your work should be rooted in relating to an under-30 audience.”

Let’s sit tight and wait for her (carefully worded?) response!

What do you make of her article? Is it possible that she’s saying all the right things, just in all the wrong ways?