Age Is Just A Number, Right?
Lauren Rothering states in her article, Why Millennials Should Handle Your Social Media, that “age is just a number.”
Who is to say that you are not young or old enough to comprehend what is being thrown in your face at least once a day? Social media platforms have grown from being “personalized social accounts” to vital branding/marketing tools. Companies use social media to their advantage when wanting to create a more personalized brand image and connect to consumers. Social media is not only the fastest marketing tool to date- it is growing with feverish attitude. Oh, so your company doesn’t use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc? Then you might as well say that you light up your offices with kerosene.
Let’s face it, regardless of anyones opinion, this is the way the world works. Change is ubiquitous, it is constantly surrounding our daily lives in personal and not-so-personal ways. Of course, you can have your say on how you feel about social media but that won’t make the revolution any less apparent. Erik Qualman’s YouTube videos on the Social Media Revolution say it all. Constantly updating, Qualman showcases the growth of social media and how it impacts our daily lives in ways we might not realize.
Now that I have laid out the importance of social media in today’s society, it’s time to face the age-old question, “Can you teach an old dog new tricks?”
I say yes. Yes you can.
Surrounding the blogosphere for months, people are stuck with questioning whether or not every social media manager should be under 25 years of age. Cathryn Sloane of the University of Iowa argues such in her article, Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25: “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. No one else will ever be able to have as clear an understanding of these services, no matter how much they may think they do.” In some ways, I can say that I agree with Miss Sloane. In other ways, I find it difficult to use it as firm ground in such an argument. Yes, Generation Y was around before social media was seen as a marketing tool and professional entity. It is true that growing up in the technological age that millennials were able to grow and learn with said technology. The thing is, is age a true defining factor when finding someone to qualify for a Social Media Manager position? For example, my 25-year-old sister has grown up with Facebook and was a part of the first intended users group, college students. She has since evolved with the rest of us, absorbing all that Twitter, Instagram, etc. have to offer. Is it fair to say that within a year she is considered to be an outdated guru in the social media realm? I believe not. If the argument is that young people are the ones who grew up with this technology, then what about those on the cusp? Why 25 years old? Who woke up and decided that being a 25-year-old, who typically is just starting out in the professional world is now deemed too old for social media practicality?
On the other side of the argument, Holly Thomases’ article, 11 Reasons A 23-year-old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media lists off what she believes to be valid reasons as to why young professionals should not be the ones to run your social media. First to top the list? “They’re Not Mature Enough.” If anything were to make me scoff at such a generalization, it would be this statement. I won’t delve into why I personally disagree, but isn’t it just as bad to say that this clustered group of young professionals who are being attacked (once again) for when they were born can’t handle the same responsibility of people over the age of 23? Just like generalizing those over the age of 25, what makes “23 and immature” a stereotype in today’s world? Especially when it comes to social media. Thomases uses the weak argument of something along the lines of “way back when, people this age were focussed and more in tune with settling down!” HA! If anything, I find this argument to be laughable. If we are going to take the stance that young professionals 15 years ago were more focussed on becoming adults than they are now, then tell me this: are those same adults more focussed and in tune with social media?
I know it seems that I am “beating around the bush” when it comes to whether or not I believe that all companies should hire Social Media Managers under 25 years of age. I wanted to play the devils advocate and show that there are many absurd conclusions that come along with both sides of the argument. When this question was proposed in class, my first thought was that social media is all about staying current. Throwing in a number, in this case age, really makes no difference. The founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, was 31 when he sent out the first-ever tweet. The current CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo, is 49. The point is, it’s more about the individual than the group. A 50-year-old woman might be more qualified to run your company’s social media than a 25-year-old and vice versa.
There is no formula, number of favorites, likes, or comments that can prove one way or the other.