One of the most contentious issues in social media today is age. Whether it’s saying  folks over 40 are too old to “get” social media, or implying  20-somethings lack the strategic background necessary to get that coveted social media ROI, the great age debates can be brutal. It’s time to settle this once and for all:

Some people lack technical understanding. Some people lack the strategical know-how to monetize social media. Some people are just plain stupid. None of these conditions are age constrained.

Simply put, people of any age can succeed (or fail) at social  media. It will be the people who can tie their social media efforts into their larger business or personal marketing efforts who will succeed; it’s the folks who take the time to care and cultivate their relationships who will see ROI. Is the technology easier for younger “digital natives”? Maybe. Does the business side of social media make more sense to the more experienced? Perhaps.

Look for example at Lorraine and me: we come from vastly different backgrounds. Lorraine’s the sassy New Yorker with an MBA and years of experience in corporate. I’m the corn-fed Hoosier with a degree in communications and no formal business education. She was an early adopter on Twitter, while I was one of the first users of Facebook, back when it was college only. Yet if you look at our Klout scores (a disputed score, but a decent metric for our purposes here), they’re the same: 59.

How is it that two people, as different as can be, wound up in roughly the same place? Easy. We learned ( and continue to learn)  from each other. Lorraine teaches me how to be more business focused in my tweets, to tie it into larger marketing efforts for Roundpeg, an Indianapolis social media firm, as well as my own personal goals–and how to apply those principles to help our clients. At the same time, I can offer Lorraine a different perspective on the technology, its use, particularly with regard to social issues and breaking news, and our role in life today.

Your age does not determine your social media success. Young people aren’t stupid, and older people aren’t hopelessly technologically stunted. Let’s all continue to explore this new medium together, instead of imposing divisions where there needn’t be any, shall we?

Questions about social media? Indianapolis Social Media firm Roundpeg can help.