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Gen Y Should Be Involved in Your Social Media Initiatives

by Jenny Sussin  |  September 21, 2011  |  6 Comments


I don’t think a Generation Y (someone born between 1981 and 2000) should necessarily be responsible for your social strategy with a few exceptions *cough* but it is wrong to say that a Gen Y couldn’t understand the business implications of social engagement enough to successfully partake in or spear-head a social initiative.

Primary reasons people say “no, no:”
1) A Gen Y does not have a history of business success
2) A Gen Y does not understand our complicated business
3) Gen Ys are reckless

1a) Gen Ys have a fresh take on your business – they’re not bogged down with the weight of internal corporate perceptions and understand how you’re viewed externally.
1b) Gen Ys are not bogged down with “how things are done around here,” so a policy change, making your business more social, isn’t any more of a challenge for them then starting a new job. This makes them good at…
2a) Gen Ys are good at cross-teaming – this is another tie back to internal corporate perceptions as well as politic. When a Gen Y mind enters the workplace it enters a company, not a department. This is good because…
2b) Gen Ys will tell you the way people conduct social network search – because they do it intuitively, no one taught them, their learning was organic.
3) Gen Ys will take chances – sometimes they’re reckless and that can be problematic, but if you take the time to mentor a Gen Y and hone their skills, you are going to have someone with an aggressively innovative spirit on your hands. For the social space, this is what you need: someone who will take chances and experiment.

**I’d like to thank all of my former and current colleagues who have spent the time and continue to take the time to help me hone my skills.

Category: social-media  

Tags: 360  crm  gartner  gartnercrm  generation-y  hiring  

Jenny Sussin
Research Director
6 years with Gartner
7 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Research Director in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Gen Y Should Be Involved in Your Social Media Initiatives

  1. Some good points, but do you really think the age of an applicant is among the top things that should be considered when making a hiring decision? I don’t think age is correlated to an ability to work effectively on social strategy anywhere as much as you think. I’ve met and worked with purely brilliant social media minds who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s AND 60s. Rarely do I even consider how old they are — my only thought is damn! — they do good work.

  2. Jenny Sussin says:

    I don’t think it’s the primary thing to consider – but I do think that the arguments against hiring a 20 something for a social lead role are growing to frequent and are often unfounded.

    There are ways in which we all have been taught work, works. It is the way we’ve learned to work. When you bring in a fresh mind – they don’t have any of those predispositions. They do need someone to tell them about the predispositions, but they’re not something that, that person will ever truly grasp and so it does not stunt the drive to push for change. With the right mentors, that person can be the spark needed to transform your business.

    There are plenty of brilliant “social media minds” in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s – but the things that make them strong in this arena are different from the things that make the 20 somethings strong. They all need to work together. That’s all I’m saying – happy the title dragged you in!

  3. Jenny Sussin says:

    Spelling error – too* :-)

  4. Chris S. Cornell says:

    Interesting. I really haven’t perceived that people in their 20s are getting treated worse than any other age group when it comes to landing jobs in social media. It’s a pretty difficult economy, to say the least, and it’s a challenge for many people to land a decent job, but I do not think those under 30 are getting short-changed.

    Check out what Rachel Sterne is doing in NYC!

    Young, talented social media rockstars should be hired because of their talent and what they bring to the table — just like old, talented social
    media rockstars.

  5. urvin thusu says:

    Well thanks for sharing a post which touches on some different dimensions in social media focus’s on Gen Y in social media initiatives…..which understands how you’re viewed externally without knowing much of corporate warfare.Also they bring along lots of new and innovative stuff which can take business to new heights if supported by right opportunity, not to forget founder of Facebook was student , but at same time experience matters so with passing sands of time we need to see which level would Gen Y take social media to.

  6. Jenny Sussin says:

    Thanks for the response – agree – this is a time will tell thing, I just want to be sure everyone can get on board!

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