Wow, it’s been a rough couple of days for you, hasn’t it? I think almost every person over the age of 25 working in social media has linked to your article on ‘Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25‘. And while I think everyone over the age of 25 knew what the reaction to it would be, it seems to have caught you by surprise.
And that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Your core message, that ‘your generation’ is familar with social media because you’ve always used these tools, is a good one. As are your thoughts that as such, ‘your generation’ has much to offer on how companies can and should be using these tools. A very good and valid message.
Unfortunately, due to the tone of your article that wasn’t the message that 99% of your readers heard. Here’s what most people thought your message was:
“Dear Old People Over the Age of 25,
You are screwing up Social Media. Stop it. Companies stop hiring these clowns to do social media, because they have no idea what they are doing. Hire ‘my generation’. We are smart, we are hip. Besides, we have always had these tools, so we should be the ones using them, not these old farts over the age of 25.
Recent College Graduate Under the Age of 25 That Gets It”
To be honest, the first time I saw your article I blew it off as being simply linkbait. I assumed that there was no way you were serious, and that the inflammatory tone of your article was purposely used in an attempt to draw attention to yourself. In fact, there’s two reasons why your article is still receiving a ton of negative feedback:
1 – The tone. It is purposely inflammatory. Whether you realize it or not (and you obviously didn’t when you wrote it), HOW you say something is just as important in social media as WHAT you say. You had a good core message, but you framed it terribly, and in a way where the only possible reaction was the one you got. And the fact that you apparently did NOT see this coming doesn’t make the case that you or ‘your generation’ knows how to handle social media.
2 – You haven’t publicly addressed the backllash that the post has caused at all. What’s the one rule we always tell companies when facing a crisis situation? Address the situation head-on as soon as possible, and using the same tools as the people generating the negative feedback. Those of us that have actually worked with companies and have helped them deal with crisis situations via social media marketing, understand this lesson. It seems you do not, which again, undermines your article’s core message that ‘your generation’ gets social media.
So I would advise you to write another article Monday morning where you address the criticism head-on. You can start by admitting that you didn’t frame your article as neatly as you could have. You should also acknowledge and listen to the points raised by your detractors. You don’t have to apologize for your core message that ‘your generation’ gets social media, but you should admit that it was pretty silly to claim that anyone older than you does not.
Another thing about social media and such firestorms is that we all tend to move on quickly. In another day or so most of us will have moved onto something else and your time in the spotlight will be over. So you can still do a lot to determine what our opinion is of you after we move on. A little humility and understanding goes a long way.
Someone Over the Age of 25 That Works in Social Media and Has Said Stupid Stuff Before Too