I’m 26, Tattooed and I do Social Media strategy


So about two weeks ago Mr. Terrence Barkan posted this onto the ASAE list-serv (on many different lists) and onto SNAMA (a free org for social media related association stuffs). I personally take offense to his title and his characterization of individuals who may be younger than him.

Like my title says, I’m 26, tattooed and I do social media strategy…

I understand that my association’s strategy of outposting and integration (i.e. community building on networks where people already hang out on, capitalizing on the time they already spend, going to them instead of trying to pull them kicking & screaming to something we created for them) is a path that a lot of associations don’t take. Most want the simple solution, a white-label social network that you can just plug into your database and/or website and go! (Not to imply that Mr. Barkan was saying that in his post)

That’s a fine choice if it comes from the community, your community wants it. But you can’t just open a network and then pray it works. You have to breed community & connection between your members before you even start to think about a private network. It’s definitely a shift in how associations are thinking and the way we interact with and engage our members.

And that’s what social media strategy is about at it’s core, a call from the community. Making sure that you are fulfilling their needs b/c if you don’t, then what value do you provide?

I guess what made me mad and made me feel like I had to defend myself is his characterization of others my age. I have enough to prove being a young female, who may be seen by the outside world as “alternative” and honestly, my job and working in social media specifically has really helped me to own all that I am and be confident in my abilities, my skill & who I am as an individual. I just don’t like to be cut down b/c of my age or b/c I may do something to myself is diverges from the norm. My differences & accepting those is WHAT makes me an authentic social media professional.



4 Responses to “I’m 26, Tattooed and I do Social Media strategy”

  1. Lynn, great comeback! I see both sides of the argument but would dare to argue that you are not the norm for your age. When i think about what i was doing at 26, the last thing on my mind was professional career (was in the Royal Navy for 9 years – nuff said 😉 )

    Notwithstanding this I do agree that you should be measured by your talents and not a perception of what the norm is.



    p.s. I like tats!

  2. Hey Lynn,
    No need to take offense and certainly none was intended. If you carefully read the post, it was to emphasise the point that social media needs a full business strategy and that being on Facebook by itself is not enough. http://budurl.com/65as

    The issue of “agism” also works both ways (ie “older people don’t uderstand social media…”). This works equally for all, just because someone is young doesn’t make them an expert and just because someone is older doesn’t mean they don’t understand or know how to use new tools.

    At the end of the day, associations need sustainable business models, and that was the main point of the blog.

  3. Andy – Always great hearing from you! 26 year olds are a very different breed now. Millenials may not be as independent (in general) from their parents as previous generations, but I think in our careers we are trying to push harder and faster to the top, yet we do it in a different way. We have a community focus and need to feel inspired by the work we do. I get the feeling that a lot of my peers wouldn’t stay in a job they didn’t love for more than 6 months – a year. The stories of people staying in their job for 20+ years are coming to an end. Don’t know if this is a good or bad thing… ?


    P.S. Do you have any Andy?

  4. Terrance – I did carefully read the post, I understood the purpose was to stress the need for strategy and not leaving it to someone who doesn’t understand that social media is a complex system of integration.

    It’s not about agism, it’s about who has the experience using the tools. Paired with that you need to have someone who can think strategically about what they do. Though I think to accomplish these things you need to play first and it’s okay to experiment.

    Like I said, my issue with the post was the title. Both the agism & the negative connotation to lifestyles that may be seen as “alternative”. Nose rings, tattoos, branding, color hair, etc. are all forms of self-expression, and I don’t think people should be looked down on because of that. I know the intent was supposed to elicit a smile, but for others (like myself) it brings upon them a negative characterization that’s unfair.


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