Why everyone under 25 should whack Catherine Sloane with a wet noodle

“Young & Old, Let’s Get it On!” by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker on Flickr

A recent Nextgen Journal post by Catherine Sloane has created quite a bit of controversy, especially among those of us who are–at least relatively speaking–a little geezer-y. The title of Sloane’s piece pretty much sums up her premise and the controversy it ignited: “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.”

My somewhat strongly held opinion is this: if her Nextgen article is at all indicative, Catherine Sloane is an idiot. Yes, that may be mean, and yes, I could write a more nuanced response, but Sloane’s premise is asinine enough to deserve nothing more than a quick dismissal. To give it any more time and attention would be kind of like trying to educate the neighbor’s children about the fragility of the zinnia as I try to keep them from tromping through my garden. Why do so when it’s so much easier–and just as effective–to just shout “YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN”?

I honestly don’t think that my fellow Gen Xers, or the baby boomers who came before us, should take the most offense to Sloane’s premise. Most of us, after all, have the perspective to dismiss it as the folly of youth. I think the true indignation should come from Sloane’s under-25 peers. Sloane has, you see, provided yet another example of her generation’s unprecedented generationness–a hyperfocus on their standing in the world as somehow unique from everything that’s preceded it. Yes, your generation is special. Just like every generation that preceded it (except the music used to be a lot better).

Now, just as it’s stupid to claim that only those under a certain age are capable of doing a job that requires, first and foremost, the good judgment that comes with experience, it would be ridiculous to paint any generation with one broad brush. Most millenials aren’t nearly as self-important as the person who created the Nextgen Journal masthead. (“Voices of the next generation–our generation.” You hear that? Ours. Not yours. Ours.) But that why I think Sloane’s contemporaries, not us older folks, should lead the charge against her. It’s one thing for Peter Shankman (whose comment on the article was succinctly put: “I no longer wish to live on this planet”) to criticize Sloane. It would be quite another for her peers to say, “no, she’s nuts.”

So, younger folk, what say you? Does Sloane deserve a specific number of whacks with the wet noodle, or are we old folks just too darn sensitive? Let’s hear your comments–and while you’re at it, keep off the grass.

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11 Responses to Why everyone under 25 should whack Catherine Sloane with a wet noodle

  1. Jon dize says:

    Great article, Anthony!

  2. Andy Welfle says:

    As idiotic as her article may be (and you’re right, it totally is), all the under-25 set I know are probably praising her for it, because it gives them that oh-so-slight advantage in the job market, at least for social media managers. And with the job market the way it is, I’m sure they’ll take any advantage they can get. 😛

  3. ajjuliano says:

    Actually, Andy, since most of the people doing the hiring would be well over 25, I think they’d probably be at a huge disadvantage if they showed any signs of agreeing with Sloane’s babble. Personally, I don’t take very kindly to suggestions that as a 42 year-old, I’m ready to put on an ice floe and booted out to sea.

  4. Nancy McCammon-Hansen says:

    Seriously….I get SO tired of being in a group and having someone say, “We need a young person to do that.” Just because I’m over 50 (I’m actually 60) doesn’t mean I can’t work a computer, don’t know anything about social media (I do–I manage FIVE Facebook pages for one thing) and ANYONE who judges your abilities based solely upon age and not talent….well, when they get older they will understand how foolish that is. We all have talents and abilities….age has no bearing on them. Thanks for letting me vent!

  5. Attitude and ability coupled with a perspective that comes with experience and openness to explore new ideas… That’s what makes the world go around, not an artificial age limitation.

    I’ve been both the youngest and nearly oldest over the past 30 years in multiple occupations. Don’t let your youth or “old age” hold you back!

  6. Wish granted: No, she’s nuts.

    I’m mere months away from her cut-off deadline for being an old fuddy-duddy, and my younger self simply would not have been able to understand the ins and outs of my job in the way that I do now. Whilst I may have some advantages in that I learnt to use social media socially before I ever had to use it professionally, to assume that anyone older than me didn’t is simply ignorant, misguided and downright idiotic.

    Professional social media is about so much more than ‘getting’ it. It requires a huge amount of understanding about PR, marketing, and branding, amongst others, and I learn more and more every day. In 40 years, I’ll be even better at it than I am now.

    Crazy lady.

    • ajjuliano says:

      Great comment, Suzannah. There really is a lot to be said for experience, and experience comes with age. It’s also important to note, as you suggest, that while personal experience with social media has some value, it’s not the same as deploying a social media strategy on behalf of a brand. Thanks for reading!

  7. Age doesn’t matter. Neither does size. I mean, as it relates to your ego.

    I think in order to be an efficient social media (community) manager; It’s all about organizational skills, marketing experience and the ability to emphasize with your many different constituents. The ability to make connections and curate and create content that is relevant and engaging. Drive helps too.

  8. Lauren Zuber says:

    I am 25 years old and would absolutely whack Catherine Sloane with a wet noodle. She and other, let say vocal, members of my generation are just perpetuating all the stereotypes that I try to stay the hell away from. Honestly, her piece embarrasses me a bit because it makes me worry that people think I side with her ramblings given my age. There are enough wanting-to-work-for-it, all-ages-appreciating millennials out there that I hope pieces like this die out soon. A girl can dream, right?

    I also thought it was funny that she mentions starting with Facebook in high school because that means she wasn’t actually on the original Facebook (since it was opened to high school students later). I guess she shouldn’t be a social media manager either.

  9. Andy Welfle says:

    Frankly, I believe that no one over 25 months should be allowed to be a social media manager. I think it’s refreshing when social media accounts talk about naptime, graham crackers, the playground, and boogers. If you’re too old for naptime, you’re too old for social media!

  10. Push says:

    Ugh, if we followed that logic our app developers would be under 12 and our cloud guru would be about six. In fact, maybe we should start recruiting from daycare centers. I think the author of the original post, Ms. Sloane, ends up coming off a lot like #7 on this list: http://pushingcontent.com/2012/07/24/the-10-most-common-articles-on-business-and-technology-sites/

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