On first glance, this is fabulous! Using younger employees who have grown up with this technology and pairing them with older executives who may not understand it seems to be a great idea. “Rotnem” (mentor in reverse) seems too good to be true. In fact, I could see value for any recent and upcoming grads in a position like this. Face time with executives, a chance to prove your worth, the ability to have a real impact on a campaign – it sounds like a dream job for most new PR pros.
But wait. Did the world’s largest independent PR firm just admit that its most junior employees are completely directing social media efforts? And did it also just admit it has waited until NOW to dive into social media? So the company that “invented the media tour; created litigation and environmental PR; (was) the first to use a toll-free consumer hotline, and the first to employ the Web in crisis management” is the last to enter social media? That is shocking – even my mom is on Facebook.
How could Edelman be so late? And why on earth would Edelman promote its social media tardiness?
If I were one of Edelman’s clients, I would seriously reconsider any social media campaign. Although I completely believe in the talent and creativity of my Gen-Y peers, I am not sure if any of us are ready to handle million-dollar accounts. That is the beauty of entry-level positions, you have room to learn and grow under the guidance of those with more experience.
Gini Dietrich of F.A.D.S agrees and remarks how scary it is that Edelman does social media for clients when 95 percent of its leaders do not fully understand it.
Furthermore, Edelman’s own social media use seems to be lacking. A link from the corporate site to the official blog of Edelman Digital took me to a blog that was updated only once in October and twice in September. The people in the digital division could not come up with more than three things to blog about in the last two months?
Overall, I think the Rotnem program is terrific and many local agencies could benefit from something similar. It is also great that Edelman is embracing social media since we all know it is here to stay. But I never would have promoted the lack of social media knowledge by senior executives, nor would I have disclosed the extreme delay in social media adoption.
What would you do if Edelman was running your company’s social media campaign?