I recently read a blog post from Paul Sutton last week entitled 'So You're a Social Media Junkie, are you?'

It basically lamented graduate level candidates lack of any practical knowledge of using social media for business. Sure they were passionate about using social, but in Paul's words it meant: "little more to them than spending insane amounts of time farting around on Facebook and Instagram".

It was a worthwhile read and discussed how many of the candidates fall into the Dunning-Kruger effect whereby inept people believe they're a lot more skilled than they actually are. 

How did this self-delusion start? 

Certainly the Dunning-Kruger effect can be applied to young people much more broadly than just in social media. Just watching any of the Saturday night talent shows will prove that. But beyond the wider cultural and societal influences of 2014 Britain, which I'm happy to say I'm not qualified to talk about, is that when it comes to social, could it be adults fuelling the misapprehension? 

Adults generally seem to have this false impression that young people just get social media.

In my own experience I've often overheard clients they're working with a online expert. What that seems to mean to them is that I'm good with computers and therefore all forms of electronics. Suddenly I've gone from online marketing to dealing with amongst other things: Smartphones, printers, scanners, power supplies, cameras, routers and an Xbox Live subscription. 

The fallacy that because I'm young and therefore have good at everything technical somehow remains no matter how many times I don't know how to fix the printer.

I'm not alone in this kind of example but it seems to me that adults and youngsters have this twisted relationship of adults thinking the young ones good, which makes the youngsters think they're good, which in turn reaffirms the adults belief in the young. 

Breaking the Cycle...

There needs to a growing awareness that just because you have thousands of Instagram followers because you're coffees, lunches and breakfasts are so amazing #tasty, does NOT make you qualified for paid work in social media. 

Young folk and graduates need to read about the industry. Social Media Examiner is a great start. Explore social campaigns, try your own, experiment just something to show you have demonstrable experience. 

Businesses - Get onto some training courses, many of which are free and break the spell of that the social media experts don't always have to be young. 

Note: This post isn't to tar all young people with the same brush - there are some cracking young social marketeers out there. But, just as driving a car doesn't make you a Formula 1 racing driver, don't expect your day-to-day activities socialising online to hold much sway when it comes to applying for social media jobs. 

Image credit to Edo Dijkgraaf | cc