First there was Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25 by Cathryn Sloane at the site "nextgenjournal" dedicated to proclaiming how cool the next generation is, as opposed to yours. It brought down a storm of comments, and now Inc Magazine ran 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn't Run Your Social Media.
Here's the thing. Both articles are total link bait, and both are clear successes in how to play social media. And wildly successful at that.
In the Inc.com article, there are eleven reasons, and number four is all kinds of wrong:
#4. You can't control their friends. This isn't exclusive to recent grads, of course, but it's a risk to consider: Even if you hire a real winner, be sure that his or her friends won't post inappropriate content to your company's social-media accounts.
You know this one went on the list, just to make that list an uneven number. It has no place there.
"You can't control their friends"!!? If you're expecting to have your accounts hijacked just because your social media manager is of a certain age, you need to learn more about security in the first place. Why Gawker's account was recently (and famously) hijacked because Mat Honan connected his iCloud to his Amazon account and had a twitter account too, which in turn was connected to his gmail and so on. He had access to Gawker's twitter account, and since he did, so did the hackers who weaseled their way in to all of his stuff and deleted a year of his life. Sure it's security flaws in Apple and Amazon, but my point is, Mat is not 23. He linked everything online and thus a high profile twitter account was hacked. Putting #4 in there shows the author doesn't keep up with social media news, and perhaps because of it, should stay away from commenting on social media news.
It's not just social media news, nobody is that narrow, least of all anyone's customer. Remember when #Aurora was trending, and a UK Dress distributor tweeted it was obviously due to that Kardashian dress? It doesn't take a genius to click on a hashtag and see what a trending topic is about. This is a skill that a social media manager should (and must) possess.
In the nextgen article, there's a nugget of truth buried and ignored in the rant:
The truth is, regardless of age, some people have a better handle on social media than others.
Well, er, duh.
The truth is, social media and social media marketing shouldn't be handled by an age group, but a person who has a specific skill set, and this skill set all depends on which social media account we are talking about. A brand may have a cross between PR and advertising going on in their channel, as Oreo is a great example of. A tech-company may have a more proactive techsupport channel at work, as Rackspace and Best Buy used to be great at, with Twelpforce winning Cannes Titanium. You could be as smart as the Smart car - in both the United States and Argentina. All of them regardless of the type of brand/account, need to know how to communicate. Ie: talk to people. (insert another "duh" here).
The truth is simpler than age, and I'll lend the mike to Matt Karolian at Arnold to drive the very simple point home:
Please stop arguing the min/max age of the person who "runs your social media", it is irrelevant link bait. Hire good, smart people.
— Matt Karolian (@mkarolian) August 13, 2012