Do junior staff outperform on social media?

old computerIf you wish, call this post Confessions of an Older Communications Consultant.

Often, organizations hire young staffers to fill social media jobs.

Is this an example of ageism in the workforce?

I used to think so.

After reviewing media consumption logs maintained by a Canadian university class recently, I gained a different perspective.

The average student self-reported six and a half hours of media consumption in a typical 24-hour period. This included three hours on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube  and Instagram.

Apparently, for many young people, social media is in their DNA; it’s a lifestyle.

Employees with family responsibilities, jobs, commutes, community commitments, and after-hour Inbox overload can’t spend hours a day, every day, on social media.  Moreover, would they have any desire to do so? (And, here is my confession: I certainly do not have the desire to do so.)

Does it take 180 minutes daily to become truly social media savvy? Probably not. Can older individuals successfully invest significant professional time into social media? Understand how it interacts with other tools in the communication toolbox and can help to build customer loyalty, brand and bottom lines? Absolutely.

But, to be fair, a young employee who routinely invests 180 minutes each day into social media will likely be highly qualified to accept social media responsibilities, and, more importantly, love the job.

One footnote: When a business wants to target Boomers and older consumers, the online strategy and content should likely to be driven by a content writer who understands this cohort. A person who engages in new media consumption and “hangs out” on Facebook like other middle-aged consumers.  After all, almost half of those over 65 who use the Internet now have a Facebook account according to a recent Pew study.


12 thoughts on “Do junior staff outperform on social media?

  1. Then, maybe you need to hire semi-retired or independent contractors over 60? I easily spend that much time on social media. And I spend a lot of time studying and reading papers, blogs and articles such as yours to keep abreast of trends. In addition, I understand the paradigm between social, content, business and economic factors, demographics and with 30+ years experience copywriting, what we all call “key words” and “content” I call experience. I think what we have to define is: what does “outperform” mean? I know of a number of businesses who have spent thousands of dollars monthly with communications companies who employ “the kids” to blog and tweet about the awesomeness of the brand, only to discover nothing they have done has increased their sales. I’ve also seen marketing and p.r. firms google the name of their client then give them a report saying, “see! you’re at the top of the search!” (Trust me, that still happens). Quality not quantity is not the order of the day I fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Gary – Thanks for your comments. Good points. Maybe it’s less about outperforming and more about personally caring — checking notifications in a way that becomes part of one’s lifestyle?

      What’s wrong about being top of Google Search page? I’m interested in your thoughts here! Cheers, Nandy


      • It’s how they went about showing the client the result. Anyone who puts their own name or company in and does a search will show up on page one. That’s not how people find you. Most of the time, especially if you are a business or independent consultant, the person is going to search, for example, “copywriters” or “pastry chef” not Gary J’s creative or Louise’s Cakes. I was a judge for a p.r. competition. The market was Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and many large agencies had entered public relations campaigns that utilized on-line tactics. They would submit, as measurable results, “hits” by entering the name of their client and the name of the campaign. And even went so far as to print out the “google analytics” to support these hits as measurable outcome in the evaluation. There were six of us and we just were gobsmacked… and these were not inexpensive campaigns; and a couple were some very big brands.


  2. You are saying that because surveys show that younger people use social media more often that makes them a better choice to tackle the job for a company? Or that using “Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram” more often somehow leads to more SoMe savvy? You never really make the case that being a strong consumer of media makes you a better user, let alone a strategic user. Social media for all its new technology and patterns of use is nevertheless just another form of media. I’ll put my years of using old, new, and emerging media up against someone who grew up with it anytime.


    • Hi Mike – thanks for your comment. I don’t disagree and you’re not the only one to respond by saying age doesn’t matter. I think now I should have focused more on what I consider to be the younger crowd’s social media “lifestyle” — i.e. the constant engagement, checking of notifications, getting wrapped up in it all. As an older user, i can compete in terms of experience, but not so much in terms of lifestyle… does that make sense? I’m doing an update on the post.


      • Still don’t really agree because it comes back to your contention that because of the age or the lifestyle that they are therefore a better choice to do the job. Social media is only a tool or channel. What is really needed is an understanding of the message you want to get out, what your comm objectives are, and who the audience is. Having it part of your lifestyle or growing up with social media channels glued to your hands doesn’t mean you understand how to deploy it for a company, a cause, or for political gain.
        Living on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for 180 minutes a day doesn’t leave you qualified to do anything extra. More likely if your comm objectives include an audience who aren’t strong users of those 3 platforms, I’d say you are under qualified because you lack a broader view of media platforms – social or otherwise.
        The way I read the survey info you posted is that I know have more information in hand to market to, persuade, or influence everyone who was surveyed – they are a target , not a tool.


  3. Pingback: One (more) reason why young staff are more qualified for social media jobs | Heule Communications in Toronto

  4. Pingback: One final reason why young staffers outperform on social media | Heule Communications in Toronto

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