AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Who Gets to Run the Facebook?

Posted by tarynbunger on July 23, 2012

A few days ago, recent University of Iowa graduate Cathryn Sloane posted a piece on nextgenjournal.com that skyrocketed her web presence in a largely unflattering way.  The piece, titled Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, has been eviscerated by comments on the original post and across the web, and has prompted numerous responses from actual social media managers, communications strategists and basically everyone else with an opinion and an Internet connection.

So obviously, I’m weighing in.

Sloane’s article asserts that since our generation grew up right alongside social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, we should be the ones building careers from them.  Her logic is that we already live inside these sites, so naturally we are best equipped to work inside them.

Clearly there are problems with that idea.  As we learned from Groundswell, Twitter and Facebook are communication tools.  Powerful tools, sure, but they’re useless if operated by people who don’t know how to use them to their fullest, most strategic abilities.  Having a Facebook account doesn’t make you an effective communications practitioner.  We’ve seen how one false tweet can result in a public relations catastrophe.  And how many times have we been told that social media is WAY too integral to successful digital communications plans to relegate to someone either inexperienced or unfamiliar with the brand?

There’s a lot more discussion on this article than I can get into here, but check out some of these rebuttals once you’ve read Sloane’s original piece:

http://nextgenjournal.com/2012/07/dear-nextgen-a-rebuttal-from-the-social-media-old-folks-cathryn-sloane/

http://socialmediatoday.com/chris-dessi/632371/response-cathryn-sloane-s-social-media-article

Finally I have to say, even though I largely disagree with Sloane, and I largely DO agree with the sentiment in many of the comments, I have a couple bigger picture-type points to make.

1) There are a lot of people leaving nasty digs in the comments while simultaneously chiding Sloane for putting sentiments online she may later regret.  Stop and think about that for a second, guys.

2) To all those indignantly crying “ageism:” let’s calm down with the “ignorance of youth” lament, shall we? You’re contradicting yourselves, and you’re annoying us fresh-faced grads who are well aware how much intellect, strategy and communications expertise it takes to run social media campaigns.

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2 Responses to “Who Gets to Run the Facebook?”

  1. krisforinger said

    Ah! You stole my article! I read this today and I was slightly offended that people think you have to be over 25! I have 3 years of experience doing social media for a group or organization but I am still under 25. Does this make me unqualified?

    • tarynbunger said

      I think (hope) it boils down to talent. The age argument is pointless because there’s going to be talent that either already exists or can be developed across all generations. Excluding candidates on the basis of being either older or younger than 25, depending on which side of the argument someone is on, is just going to cut chances of finding the person that fits the organization best.

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