We’ve all had one. The intern that comes into your office for an interview and they let you know just how well they know social media. They are completely comfortable with most channels and know how many Twitter characters to use, great hashtags for Instagram, and the funniest viral videos to share on Facebook. As a Millennial, I can say that I started my career being very comfortable with the social media space and embraced digital completely. As I’ve experienced more in the social world outside of my personal profile, though, I learned that I may have been leaning on my comfort a little too much. The downfall of this comfortable mindset that myself, and younger Millennials face, is the realization that social comfort is not the same as social confidence. Let me explain.
We live in a world with a large influx of digital natives in the work place. These are the ones that were “born or brought up in the age of digital technology” and currently it’s the largest generation. Unfortunately, that comfort exuded does not always translate into confidence when put into practice. Hence all the intern mess-up horror stories we hear. In a study by Hootsuite, students were asked to describe how they felt after taking a semester of social media curriculum and many seemed to be uncomfortable by the fact that they didn’t know as much as they thought about social media. This is because they have the knowledge of how to work the platform, but not why the platform works. They don’t have knowledge or strategy or tools used to understand the data derived from each social post sent out.
So what do we do as these comfortable, yet error prone, digital natives? We train them!
Many employers see the confidence of social as a reason to automatically give the new intern access to the social networks. This is ill advised and I cringe every time I hear someone say, “We don’t need anyone for social media, let’s just put the intern on it.” As the minority to this new generation, the pre-social era leaders need to be training with strategy, concepts, and tools to utilize the natural comfort of the digital native. This then leads to confidence that will allow them to excel in a space in which they already have an affinity.
So let’s take those interns (even the ones who are little too self-assured) and give them the tools they need to succeed as the next leaders in the workforce.
Manager, Advertising & Analytics