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Experience vs. experience and Cathryn Sloane’s experience

Along with everything else that’s been going on over the last few days, we’ve had one of our usual techie “tempest in a teapot” weekend moments. That’s when some tech story emerges that occupies a huge portion of the technosphere for the better part of a weekend, only to be forgotten soon afterwards.

This week’s tempest in a teapot came courtesy of Cathryn Sloane, and her post entitled Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25. Here’s a brief excerpt:

You might argue that everyone, regardless of age, was along for the [Facebook/Twitter] ride, or at least everyone under the age of 30. I’m not saying they weren’t, but we spent our adolescence growing up with social media. We were around long enough to see how life worked without it but had it thrown upon us at an age where the ways to make the best/correct use of it came most naturally to us. No one else will ever be able to have as clear an understanding of these services, no matter how much they may think they do.

Sloane has been beaten up nearly everywhere (or at least in those portions of the tech world that aren’t talking about James Holmes or Joe Paterno’s statue), so it would be fruitless to pursue that avenue. But her thesis can cause us to think about exactly what “experience” is.

To start with, I’ll advance my thoughts on the matter. If you’ve read the tymshft blog with any regularity, you know that I believe that while the SPEED of certain technologies may have particular ramifications for society, the technologies themselves often do not result in anything new. My EXPERIENCE tells me that Facebook is just this generation’s bulletin board system, and Twitter is this generation’s CB radio. Because I have been around the block a few times, I can claim that I have the EXPERIENCE to tell when Facebook or Twitter are being used in a stupid manner.

But Sloane, although it is not obvious at first glance, is also speaking of a type of experience. Of course, Sloane and those of her generation were immersed in the EXPERIENCE of Facebook and Twitter. Oddly enough, their lack of experience with bulletin boards and CB radios is, in a way, an EXPERIENCE in and of itself. Those without the experiences of the past are not afraid to try “new things” that are really old things. Let me illustrate this by a conversation between myself and Sloane.

HEY, JOHN, LET’S LET FACEBOOK USERS CUSTOMIZE THEIR TIMELINES!

Cathryn, are you an idiotic bozo? Don’t you remember what happened when people first set up their web pages and loaded them with animated GIF angels and auto-play schlocky MIDI files?

UM, NO I DON’T REMEMBER THAT.

Well, it was stupid in the 1990s and it was stupid today, and therefore we should never ever ever do it.

JOHN, YOU IDIOTIC BOZO, I’M NOT GOING TO BE CONSTRAINED BY THE PAST JUST BECAUSE MY PARENTS LOADED BAD MIDI VERSIONS OF “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” ON THEIR WEB PAGES. GIVE PEOPLE CHOICE!

If I were starting a social media consultancy, I’d ideally want to get a mix of people with different kinds of experience. I’d want some old pros around who knew what came before and remembered the mistakes of the past. But at the same time, I’d want some young pros who wouldn’t be afraid to try anything, even if the old pros said that it wouldn’t work.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ramesh Jain wrote about experience several years ago.

We define so many experiences that are combination of our emotions as well as what we learnt from the experience. I don’t study and explore emotional aspects, but I am interested in how knowledge gets created and that makes me interested in the relationship between insights, knowledge, and experience.

Your thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “Experience vs. experience and Cathryn Sloane’s experience

  1. Pingback: What Craig Barry did – A funny follow-up to the Cathryn Sloane brouhaha « tymshft

  2. Pingback: What Craig Barry did – A funny follow-up to the Cathryn Sloane brouhaha « tymshft

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