The kerfuffle started when a new college graduate wrote an article on NextGen about why all social media managers should be under 25 (linked above). And what a firestorm that started. Heavy hitters came out of the woodwork to respond to that one (just go look at the sheer volume of comments). There were many good, thoughtful comments telling the author that her article wasn’t terribly well thought out and, well, ageist. But then a lot of the comments started becoming quite ageist themselves. Most of them had good points, but that doesn’t mean there still wasn’t a lot of “come back when you’re older” attitudes being thrown around.
I remember when I turned 30 and felt that *finally* people were starting to take me seriously and listen to me when I had something to say. Before that, I had a lot of ideas that I thought were good or could work (in whatever job I was working – it wasn’t SM at the time). And I basically got the equivalent of a head pat and a “that’s nice” response.
So I know where the author was coming from, in many regards. You can have mature 25 year olds, and you can have some that seem like they haven’t even hit their teens yet. Everyone’s different.
So here’s an idea.
Let’s stop judging so much by a person’s age and instead look at their actual experience. Or listen to their ideas. They might have some good ones. Sure, they might need help in executing them (hell, I think I still need help in executing much of the time), but why not give them a chance with some mentoring and guidance?
I’ve been on Twitter since 2007 and Facebook since it was still college-only. That alone doesn’t qualify me to be a Social Media Manager, but the rest of my knowledge and experience certainly does.
The age debate still rages and each time it pulls me back to remembering how I felt just 15 short years ago, wondering if I’d EVER be taken seriously. So let’s not discount someone because they may be young. Or old. Or in between. Look at the individual and you might be pleasantly surprised.