The Community Manager Debate

Over the last few weeks there have been quite a few articles back and forth over the topic of community management and who is more appropriate for the job.

The first thing that I thought of after reading these articles was, “Wow, could you stereotype just a little bit more?”

The first article that spurred the series of articles was Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25 by Cathryn Sloane, who was slaughtered in the comments section of her post.

Then, there was the response by Hollis Thomases, 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media. A very jaded response to the first article, if I must say so myself. The picture with the article alone irritates me.

The most recent article, Why Millennials Should Run Your Social Media, by Lauren Rothering, was posted last week. I believe this third article is the most middle-of-the-road response, but there’s still room for improvement.  Someone commented on this article saying, “There’s room for all of us,” and I agree with that completely.

So what does it really take to be a successful community manager?

  • Maturity – Yes, it’s true, there are immature recent graduates who I (a recent grad) wouldn’t recommend or use in my business. On the other hand, there are recent grads who I believe are much more qualified, mature and focused than others who have been in the industry for years. The year that you graduated doesn’t indicate your level of maturity, real life does.
  • Familiarity – It’s a fact, you need to know all the ins and outs of social media in order to be a successful community manager. And yes, there is a higher number of millennials on social media than other generations. That doesn’t mean that older people who have stayed up on the ins and outs of social media are any less appropriate for the job because of their age.
  • Experience – No number of classes or certificates can replace experience, and recent grads realize that. I personally did upwards of 10 (unpaid) internships in college and still had to start at the bottom of the totem pole after college, and I understand that. There are people more experienced and more knowledgeable than me, and I stil have a lot to learn. That doesn’t mean though that I shouldn’t be give opportunities to learn and prove myself as a successful C.M.
  • Communication – I’ve personally had the opportunity to learn from one of the most talented client communications professionals over the last year, and he’s only 25 years old. Communication skills can be learned, but there are those who are more inclined towards a communications job, and that’s something that age doesn’t indicate. I’ve come across an astounding number of older people who are rude and tactless, and wonder, how have you gotten as far as you have in life?

Those are my thoughts on this continuing debate. What is even more interesting is that these qualities could be said to be necessary in any professional job.

So, what do you think it takes to be a successful community manager?

~ Miss Soucie


Lover of all things travel, food, fitness and cocktails. Currently the Community Director at Ampsy, supporter of the #yesphx community and always on the lookout for the next adventure.