Opinions

Reasons why hiring a 23-year old graduate to run your social media might be the best decision you have made

I stumbled upon the following article a few days ago: 11 Reasons a 23-Year Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media (http://www.inc.com/hollis-thomases/social-media-dont-put-intern-in-charge.html). As a recent graduate, and as someone with social media experience, the article, quite frankly, infuriated me. To the extent that I decided to respond to it, and give you my reasons why you might find trusting a graduate with your brand’s social media strategy might be the best decision you have ever made for your business.

Mature, responsible, hard-working!

The article claims that graduates nowadays are not mature enough and would rather explore who they are in their 20s, which somehow makes them incapable of presenting a brand in mature and accountable ways through social media. Now, I see many problems with this argument. I know a lot of graduates, and I can assure you that they’re all responsible, motivated young people eager to get working and enthusiastic to make a contribution to the brand and the company they represent. The fragile job market has denied this opportunity to many of those graduates, and I believe it’s outrageous for anyone to make such a ridiculous claim about graduates’ inability to dedicate themselves to their work in favour of their personal lifestyle choices. Graduates today are much more mature than those 20, or even 10 years ago and ready to hit the ground running with hard work and dedication.

Education versus Experience in Social Media

According to the article, no class can replace on-the-job training. Because social media encompasses a variety of skills and activities, experience would be crucial in delivering the high standard of customer service and branding that social media marketing requires. This sounds like a perfectly valid argument. I graduated from university with no knowledge – theoretical or practical, on social media or its impact. My degree wasn’t Marketing or Business related, I studies Diplomacy. I started working on Career Geek last November as the Editor, later on I got involved on the social media side simply because I saw the impact of social media and decided that Career Geek could benefit from a social media strategy. I had no experience or knowledge on social networks whatsoever – I didn’t even have a personal Twitter account. I started reading and learning about the theory behind social media; later on I devised a strategy. I don’t want to go into detail about the impact social media has had on Career Geek as a brand, I just wanted to exemplify how a graduate can gain the theoretical, as well as practical knowledge of social media in just a few months. I believe a graduate is much more equipped to get to grips with new trends and technology. I don’t accept that anyone other than a graduate would do better in understanding and making use of social media.

Graduates and Learning

Graduates, apparently, may not understand the business, the brand, and all the issues surrounding it. Yes, that is true – no new employee can absorb all this information overnight. But to claim that graduates may have more trouble learning than other new employees is simply stupid. If there’s anything that graduates are better than anyone else in, that’s learning and adapting. Enough said.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are critical – obviously another point that applies to anyone and everyone. While working on Career Geek, I have communicated with some of the best and most professional graduates out there. How I knew they were so good? Because they had superb communication skills that didn’t leave any doubt as to how good they are at what they do.

Graduates as Unruly Kids

There are a few more points to the author’s argument, but they are so groundless, I will only briefly mention them. The author claims that graduates might be preoccupied with their own social activity while ignoring the brand/business they are representing. The author also feels that graduates’ friends can’t be controlled and might put the brand in question in danger by posting inappropriate content. I have only mentioned the above to illustrate the extent of stupidity of the author’s argument. There are a few more claims that do not do any justice to the author, article, or argument so I am going to ignore them entirely. Graduates are being portrayed as unruly kids that no employer would be able to deal with. Excuse me, but I believe the author needs a reality check.

The last point of the article, advising employers to make sure to keep track of all social media accounts’ details (usernames and passwords) set up by the newly employed graduate, is frankly insulting to the employer as well as the employee.

Dear Graduates,

Don’t let anyone judge your skills, abilities and experiences. We are the generation facing one of the toughest job markets in history. Yet, we work hard and with enthusiasm and keep moving forward showing everyone how much we’re worth.

Share your thought, opinions and experiences below, let us all show what today’s graduates think.

Dear Employers,

We spent 3 years at university studying and working hard. We ended up with large debts that we cannot even start paying off. We are enthusiastic, full of energy, and determined to succeed. But we need your support. Give us a chance and see what we’re capable of.

9 Comments

  • Great work Asya, I also read that article the other day and was pretty shocked. Can you imagine if the article had been about not trusting your social media to a 50 year old. There would have been uproar! Good on you for writing a reply, and let’s hope that graduates get the chance to prove themselves in this exciting and relatively new industry.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Leo! It is well appreciated. I think it is important that we reply to such articles and express alternative viewpoints. That’s the only way of encouraging discussion on such controversial issues.

  • Whilst I would agree with the general tenor of this piece Asya, I think you need to be equally careful about generation stereotyping. I’m not sure you can evidence your claims that ‘today’s graduates are much more mature than those 20, or even 10 years ago’. It somewhat undermines your case when you make exactly the bold, unsubstantiated claims you criticise others for!

    That said, I like the tone and style of your blog and I’ve no doubt recent grads find it very useful. Keep posting.

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for your feedback. I can see your point.
      My response to the original article was written as an opinion piece, and I admit it is biased, and subjective. Staying away from generalisation is very important, and I do try to avoid it in my writing. This time, however, I did make the mistake of generalising, and of not fully explaining the point I was trying to make.
      Thanks again for pointing it out, I will take a note and keep it in mind for the future. Thank you for the kind words about the blog, we appreciate your support.

  • Very good post Asya. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes faster than Vettel revs his F1 car. I agree in part with Sarah who comments that generation stereotyping isn’t right and I am not too sure if today’s graduates are more mature than their predecessors. But nonetheless what is true, is, today’s graduates take a lot more crap from all sides when it comes to job search and employment.

    I love the last paragraph. It should be turned into a A3 size poster for graduates 🙂

  • Love your response! Great points and I totally agree, I am a recent graduate and did my dissertation on social media and brands. Lots of research into a interesting topic and now we are growing up with the power of social media. I am also 23 in a few months!