Late last week, Hollis Thomases wrote an inflammatory post on Inc. titled “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” The post, obviously, outlines specific reasons why the youth of today are ill-equipped to handle valuable online communities and messaging.
I might be a bit sensitive because, you know, I am one of these youngsters who (apparently) has no idea how the internet works. However, in speaking with marketers and social media professionals, it’s clear that it isn’t just young people who are offended. Imagine, if you will, that I took to Wired and wrote a post called “12 Reasons a 42-Year-Old Shouldn’t be Allowed to Use Computers in the Office.”
But it’s not just the far-reaching title of the post that is bothersome – it’s the horrible, outdated, and generalized tips within.
Let’s look at number four – “ You can’t control their friends.” Thomases illustrates how friends posting on company social media accounts might create “inappropriate content.” Thomases may have 10,000+ Twitter followers, but it appears she has absolutely no idea how sharing and post visibility settings work on a number of social media sites. How do I know this? I manage (currently) communities with over 100,000 followers, likes, and +’es.
Tip number two also shows an outdated, old-fashioned approach to workplace conduct. The tip reads “They may be focused on their own social-media activity,” and warns employers that (gasp!) employees may spend time on that Facebook thing. Tsk-tsk, Hollis. Twitter ad account managers regularly spend time on Facebook looking at ads competitors place, testing how well targeting works, and finding content that engages audiences. How do I know? My uninformed, uncontrollable, unfocused 21-year-old self was just at the Twitter offices talking about this with people who work at Twitter.
The rest of the tips don’t seem to be focused on the age of social media and online community managers, instead, they seem to be basics for managers of folks who have access to an organization’s social media outlets. Anyone who looks at these tips and thinks “Wow! What original insight about managing and hiring employees with access to social media,” shouldn’t be hiring or involved in social media branding. Period.
At best, this article is a misinformed attack on the wrong demographic. Worst case scenario? We’re looking at a marketer who is fighting to find legitimacy in a world where young people can do her job naturally, faster, more efficiently, with less formal training, and at a better price. In essence, Hollis is bashing her competition in an attempt to elevate her fading old-school business model to online marketing.
Mike Gore is an opinionated college student at Western Washington University studying Public Relations. He manages Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts for a number of businesses both locally and internationally. On Twitter, he’s @mikegore
Image via Homeschool Family Life