Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Social Media Ageism Rant

I'll start this post off by acknowledging that it's admittedly probably half-baked because this issue is a hot button one for me. That issue being the perpetuation that social media careers are for "young" people.

I was thinking I just had a chip on my shoulder--what with me being 41 and a social media professional--but was heartened to see other people posting about this same issue, so it's not just me.

At any rate, in today's SmartBrief on Social Media one of the headlines caught my eye: "Job market booming for social-media gurus". Cool. I've blogged before about my doubts about the viability of social media as a career choice; I'm happy to say that my doubts are currently in remission as I've just been offered an awesome new community & social media manager position, as have several other people I know. So of course I clicked the link to read about what I'm already finding to be true--that there are lots of social media jobs popping up.

I was disappointed, though, to read the opening sentence: "Calling all wired-in 20-somethings with a flair for Facebook and a talent with Twitter: you can make a career out of your perpetual online presence." The article includes this quote: ""What younger people bring to the table is that they understand social media culture, because it's actually the culture they live in."

Please. Can we stop with the notion that ALL young people are natural social media "experts" because they, unlike older people, live and breathe social media? First of all, not all of them do. Second of all, plenty of us dinosaur-like Gen-Xers and Boomers have been logging some serious online networking time for many a year. While I personally can't lay claim to the whole Prodigy thing, I have been an active participant in online networks for well over 10 years. Wrote one of my favorite blog posts about just that subject, as a matter of fact.

I'll stop here by saying this: we don't advertise certain career tracks as just for men or just for white people--that's called discrimination. The same is true for suggesting that only certain age groups are qualified for certain jobs. So how about we all agree to just leave age out of the social media job equation?

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