They’re Young, Have Them Tweet!

By , 09/17/2009

I came across a surprising post today on a PRSA blog (via @cubanaLAF) titled, “Status Update: Millennial Staffers Can Update Your Social Media Plans.” Lauren Fernandez and Kasey Skala (@kmskala) already have a great response post up, “There’s More to a Millennial than Updating Your Profile,” but I wanted to explore a bit further one of the misconceptions in the original PRSA post from a slightly different perspective. 

For the last almost two years, I’ve been speaking regularly to graduate students in communication and business programs about social media, as well as to clients at large companies, which has enabled me to see a bit of both sides of the coin. I’ve sometimes encountered a perception from some professionals that younger, Gen Y or Millennial people grow up with social media technology so must automatically know how to use it.  But the problem is, they don’t. That is, they may, but they’re more likely using Facebook or one of many other social media services or channels for personal use. They haven’t necessarily had the experience thinking about or working with social media in a business context and tying it to larger business or communication goals and strategies. (For more about teens on Twitter, see danah boyd’s post, “Teens Don’t Tweet…Or Do They?“)

This misperception came up with other educators in the field at the 2009 New Media Academic Summit in June, and other people I talked with voiced the same concern.

There are other problems with the original post, which Lauren and Kasey respond to further in their post. But I just wanted to highlight this particular misperception.  I think of it like this: just because I cook every day doesn’t make me a chef. Access and usage do not necessarily equate to expertise. 

What do you think?


3 Responses to “They’re Young, Have Them Tweet!”

  1. I find students’ knowledge and intellectual curiosity about social media to be surprisingly limited. Most seem slightly less late to the game, if I were to accurately peg them.

  2. As an obsessive compulsive addendum: to clarify, most students are still late to the technology, but not as late as older generations to adopt the technology.

  3. Laurel Hart says:

    From my experience, I would say that there is interest and curiosity, but that it can sometimes feel overwhelming to students just getting started.

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