Social media is not for entry-level employees | In My Opinion


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College students are on the hunt for internships and recent graduates are starting new jobs. Employers who have been thinking of social media are evaluating these new recruits and all their skills. Including whether they understand and can use social media tools. Organizations who have been waiting for “something” to get started with social media have decided – “Let’s give it to Mikey, he will eat it” (quote from a historic Life cereal commercial).

I have heard of several instances of seasoned and resourceful social media consultants who have lost a project because the client found a college student who uses Facebook and is now assigned the taste of promoting a $10 or $50 Million business. Is this the way we should be thinking about social media for our business? The old adage “You get what you pay for” is true in this space as well.

What happens when students go back to school in the fall? Social media is a long-term commitment which doesn’t bode well with a summer intern.

Honestly I have nothing against college students and recent graduates. I am helping several find good entry level positions. I am even considering working with an college intern on a event promotion, with much guidance and direction for administrative duties. However, I can say that most students do not yet have a business sense about them at all. That is something that comes from earned time in the field. Even in the recent channel of social media.

For starters, I’d be happy with someone who was capable of producing readable, spell-checked, clear writing. That’s probably the hardest part. Beyond that, I would want someone with a level of comfort with constant/rapid change and/or adaptability. The tools I need them to use are the easiest to learn and teach.

Paula Berg previously with Southwest Airlines, who I heard speak last Fall at UW Whitewater Social Media and PR Summit, had this to say in a recent Huffington Post article:

Paula Berg: Revolutionizing Corporate Communication: 6 Tips for Integrating Social Media and Inspiring Organizational Change

“Tip #5 – Social Media is not for entry level employees. Fear still appears to be a primary factor preventing companies from truly embracing social media. And if they’ve tasked a 22 year-old intern to manage their efforts, I don’t blame them.

You wouldn’t send an intern to speak to The Wall Street Journal on your behalf, and, likewise, you shouldn’t send them to broadcast messages to the entire world online. Social media deserves seasoned and trusted employees.

At Southwest Airlines, our Emerging Media Team had 70 combined years of service to the airline in almost every field. I was a nearly 10-year employee who knew our customer and public relations inside and out. Brian Lusk was a 30-year veteran of the industry with Rain Man-like knowledge of aircraft, operations, and aviation history. Christi Day had five relatives that worked at Southwest Airlines; she was practically raised at the company and knew the culture instinctively. We made mistakes, and we got our hands slapped occasionally; but, together, we had the knowledge, experience, judgment and trust to do the job well.”

via Paula Berg: Revolutionizing Corporate Communication: 6 Tips for Integrating Social Media and Inspiring Organizational Change.

Wow, 70 years of combined service! How many years of social media experience does your team have?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Wendy Soucie
Wendy Soucie provides clients a unique perspective on social business strategy across an organization. Wendy applies and follows specific social media strategy and methodologies for assessments, network growth, contribution, participation and execution. She is a certified social media strategist, Social Media Academy (Palo Alto, CA). She is an accomplished trainer and keynote personality speaker.


  1. I agree with your sentiment, however it made me wonder how we get new entrants up to speed quickly, without being there for “70 combined years”!

    Maybe Zappos has the story, in the new book. There is a good video review here by Todd Schick:

    It mentioned the employee development pipeline.

    Your example of Southwest Airlines also made me think of an post I wrote recently on JetBlue, and their brand recognition which has accelerated way beyond Southwest, so where did Southwest get lost in comparison to JetBlue?

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    Certified Social Media Consultant
    Melbourne, Australia
    My social spaces and places:


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