Sean Garder, @2morrowknight, and I were recently discussing a tweet we came across (imagine that! ツ) that caught our attention. The tweet was an article from The Next Web entitled, “To work online or in new media, there’s an expectation for you to be ‘young’” written by @Zee.
The article states, “To work in tech, online, or in any new media role, there’s an expectation that you should be young.”
I thought this point was quite interesting, and, the piece caught my attention. I speculate it would be a great subject to ask ten of my social media friends for their point of view of this statement. I will share their standpoint later.
Personally, I feel when we have a culture in which we embrace a diverse range of ages, we can achieve from and flourish in the work force by learning from each other.
This applies to the social media world, as well as our day-to-day office lives. I believe being receptive to openness will drive a company forward into progressive thinking. When we have strong candidates and a good management team, it’s a win, WIN scenario! Why have barriers? Why let the internet define “what is an appropriate age for the new media”?
I believe when you pick a strong team (based on talent rather than age), collaborate and build trust, fairness and respect, that you then have developed a solid foundation for that team to thrive.
I invited Sean to join and contribute to my post and reached out to other social media users on their take on the role of age in the technological workplace.
In addition, I asked them to comment on the narrative from The Next Web .
What is your view on the expectation of the new media as being geared toward the “young”?
Here are several diverse point of views from my guests and thank you everyone for contributing. Please feel free to share additional thoughts on the subject!
|“To work in tech, online, or in any new media role, there’s an expectation that you should be young. “
|On the one hand, you can say many of the innovators in this industry are young. So it could make sense if you just look at it that way. But I believe it goes much deeper than that. The “expectation” of youth (in many instances) is tied to a company’s plan to get free, or cheap labor from young people who are just getting started in the work force.
|A lot of the “rules” we accept are made up by people no better than any of us. So how do you do away with this ridiculous “only under 25 rule”? Collaboration. It’s one of the biggest trends in social media over the past two years. Imagine many more men and women – regardless of age – working on substantive, transformational, profitable projects together. My sources tell me that in 2012 we will see more of that in a very big way. There is certainly more than enough work to go around.
|Social media is diverse (the young, and, the seasoned), so why openly institute and enforce the kinds of limits that betray the substance and depth of the medium? To change it, you have to think out of the box. And working on projects with a determined, action- and goal-oriented group of people is the best way to create a shift in general “hiring expectations”, and to change the headline to: “To work in tech, online, or in any new media role, there’s an expectation that you should be…knowledgeable and forward-thinking, with a healthy respect for diversity.”
|Although there’s an unfortunate perception correlating the “new media” role and online marketing with the younger generation, I believe it comes down to drive and passion. And as online social marketing is considered a fairly “new” medium, it sort of levels the playing field for everyone.
|Personally for me, being a (cough! cough!) “mature” mompreneur, I never thought of age as a barrier. Perhaps it’s because of my fascination and love for new media and technology, and a drive to stay abreast of current trends. Regardless of age, it’s a stigma only if you allow it to be.
|My clients want two things: brand insights and knowledge based on my years of marketing experience and proof that I can harness technology within the media landscape to deliver customers.
|What’s unique today is that innovation happens at such a rapid pace, we no longer experience the generational adoption gaps. My son blogs. So do I. My young staffers tweet, pin, and facebook. So do I.
|What about working in the high-tech world? Are younger people better? Can older people still contribute?
|Age doesn’t matter. But you have to stay innovative, passionate, and adaptive to change. You can’t be stuck in the past.
|Hiring young people does help keep everyone current and moving forward. Experienced workers contribute with business insights that come only from years of experience.
|I see it from both sides; yes, the younger generation has grown up being tech savvy from a formative age when everything comes fast and the brain is like a sponge. When, I started in the design Industry at 20, in just one year, I became the Director of Design of a major label. Yes, having the ability and talent is not an age barrier. Although, I look back and see how naive I was about life and how things really work…
|Now with my “Life Experience” I am seasoned with age. I still think and conduct my business as a young “thinking” person but, with more intuition and inner knowing. This for me is the most relevant.
|There’s a misconception that to work in social media, you should be young. Sure, it may seem unfamiliar to some people. But for those of us whose careers have been made by technology and innovation, it’s been easy to adapt to social media. And I’ve seen many people who thought they were too old to learn something new, sit down and learn how to use it in just a few minutes. The positive impact on their professional lives is immediate. Connections are made, networks are expanded, communication and sharing are simplified.
|My first business, iParenting, was one of the early parenting websites. After launching in 1996, we were blogging before that word became mainstream (back then we called it an “online journal”). Instead of Facebook comments, we used bulletin boards. Instead of Twitter parties, we used chat rooms. But the result was the same: We were in social media before we knew the term existed.
|Today, I’m building a new business, www.30secondmom.com, that’s being fueled by social media. It’s just part of my daily life, and gets seamlessly integrated into what I do and how I communicate. That’s because social media is all about relationships, and that’s vital at every age.
|You’re never too old to build new relationships, and to reinforce existing ones. And you’re never too old to learn a new way to do that.
|Certainly, the expectation that one needs to be young to work in technology or new media exists, and it is partially created by the increasing focus of the media on success stories of the young and gifted.
|Nowadays, it is no longer enough to have a track record in your given industry, and we see more and more of the jobs go to younger people, particularly in new media.
|While the situation is nothing to laugh about [and it’s bound to change as the “new” in new media starts to fade], I prefer to look at the positive side of it: the current environment is giving those of us who are a bit north of 30 an opportunity to dive headlong into the ambitious projects we’ve been dreaming about. This is an exciting prospect for those of us who are able to see beyond the idea of working for somebody else.
|Regardless of age, anyone now has the tools to launch web-based services or products, to blog and find a niche with the potential to be successful. We should embrace it! In the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, it is us entrepreneurs who will be driving global economic growth and innovation.
|When I started thinking more about this, I realized I have dealt with people at a variety of ages all that have been amazing at their jobs and brilliant minds in the tech, online and new media arena. I would say this statement doesn’t fit with my interactions. The statement I think should be made is… to work in tech, online, or in any media role you have to be passionate and love to geek out both online and offline.
|All of these people I have had the pleasure of interacting with have had their own strengths but the one common thing they had was passion for the industry.
|The thing I like working with the younger brains is they don’t have too many “rules” yet, they’re dreamers and don’t seem to know what failure looks like so are willing to jump off a cliff in a direction that is unknown. The people with more life experience have their strengths too. I’ve found they have an amazing ability to help guide you in a very strong direction before you jump off the cliff. They too will let you jump off the cliff, maybe even pushing you.. but they’ll often be able to tell you what the other 3 cliffs have felt like when they landed.
|Technology has been around the same amount of time for all of us. Young or old if we embraced it the day it came out then we all have the same resume of using it. That’s where decision makers in companies probably have the same requirement for filling the job, and that requirement should be the job goes to the person who can do the job the best. My advice to anyone looking for a job in this field is to just be you, be confident, passionate and if you can do the job the best you should be the one hired for the job no matter of your age.
|Cheers to all of you that share the same dna passionate about technology bug that I have and thanks for being in my world. Dream big no matter what age or stage in your career you are
|I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s , the language of computers was as foreign to me as Pig Latin. They were a rare commodity and the only people I knew that understood them were anti social geeks. Little did I know those geeks would pave the way leading me to the social media I use today.
|I just turned 40 and have taken a strong interest in all the new online ways to network, market and discuss mutual topics of interest in my business. I “somewhat” understand the views of top executives wanting to hire our youth who were born with a computer in their hand. However, getting the opportunity to work in this industry or any other shouldn’t be based on age. No no no…
|To work in tech or new media, the most important traits a person needs to have are passion and a desire to learn. It is true that younger generations are growing up with new media, but that doesn’t mean age should be a barrier to working in the field.
|New media is accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. You can be a grandparent and be on Twitter or a teenage posting content on YouTube. Forget boundaries and have fun with the medium.
|Hey, who says I’m NOT young? Might as well come clean since Wikipedia and my wrinkles would conspire to tell the truth. I’m almost 50-years-old but at the risk of sounding cliché, I do think, especially with regard to technology, age is just a number. I come from “old media”, traditional journalism.
|When I lost my job I had two choices; wait for my agent to remember me then find me a new job, or reinvent myself. I used technology and social media to do that. While it may not have been as intuitive to me as it is for my kids, it doesn’t mean I’m incapable of learning. My motto: I don’t know everything but I’m smart and I have YouTube. Eventually I’ll figure it out.