Thursday, January 20, 2011

20-somethings and social media management

I read a really great blog (here) about a recent social
media controversy. During a panel discussion Wednesday in Charlotte, NC a panelist suggested companies should use 18- to 20-year-old interns to handle their social networking. The suggestion sparked a little opposition from audience memebers. However, Observer reporter Eric Frazier garnered several comments on his blog supporting the notion of having younger employees manage social media.

As I joined a discussion on LinkedIn (where this topic was first mentioned) I was bothered by how many people were so opposed to utilizing the skills and talent of a younger generation. Fraizer said it best "experienced marketing professionals should be charged with guiding corporate strategy and holding online conversations with the public". However, I think it's silly to underestimate the talent of young people. Especially as digital media continues to evolve, the Millenial generation has the strongest grasp of the evolving platforms because they have been so ingrained into their lives.

Several comments on the @Charlotte blog highlight this very concept. An anonymous user commented "I've had over 25 years experience in marketing, using all kinds of media, and my teenage grandsons can run circles around me using Facebook, Youtube, e-phones, digital cameras and and many, many other "social medias" with a quick click."

Another anyonmous user posted:
"As the CEO of a $3 mill company my best social media employees are between the ages of 20-25. I am 42 and many of my peers in our industry can barely manage to use the basic functions of a smart phone much less social media. Her statement is more truth then not."

I'm not saying that 20-somethings should be given free reign because they obviously lack real-world experience. My point is that marketing professionals must learn to work together even-more-so to utilize talents of all generations to make the absolute best business decisions. Generation overlap is becoming increasingly important especially in social and digital media. I truly believe that companies that embrace this concept will be the ones to thrive across digital platforms.