Sadly, I have worked with my share of social media hacks in my public relations career. Most of them have no idea the role of public relations and how it can be leveraged in social media to benefit clients. More on that in future posts.
However, one of the worst social media managers I have worked with in my career was a strange Millennial freak I will call Lark.
In his mid-twenties, scrawny with short hair, Lark was a strange, awkward and unfriendly freak. Lark used to wear track clothes, shorts, and tennis shoes to our office and would run (yes, run!!) past my office numerous times a day to visit my boss few offices down like a punk kid. It was beyond annoying.
One day during summer, he even wore flip-flops to our office. Sorry, call me old-fashioned but flip-flops don’t belong in a work environment. This is work not fucking vacation. Unfortunately, his attention to his work reflected this attitude.
Lark was hostile toward me from my first day at our agency. Not sure why. Him and Code Boy went to lunch on my first day and didn’t even invite me along. Not exactly welcoming. Kind of like onboarding in hell. It gave me a glimpse right away into the dysfunctional situation I had walked into.
The worst thing about Lark was that he was dumb. He had little or no creativity or intellectual curiosity about his job or anything else. Not exactly a good trait for someone who is supposed to have his pulse on the media and pop culture for promoting our agency’s clients.
Frankly, he was a social media manager only one year out of college who was in over his head. He had some strange notions as well about social media.
Lark was so afraid of posting too many social media items for our clients, he rarely posted at all so our clients’ social presence actually got worse after they hired us.
Lark actually had the gall to say to me once that he took public relations classes in school and knew a lot about PR, but honestly, he was fucking clueless about what I did for our clients.
It was so frustrating to secure numerous high-profile media placements for our clients and for my work not be represented in our clients’ social media pages. Lark never had any communication with me to find out what I working on and honestly, he didn’t care. Lark and I hated each other and there was no hiding it. It wasn’t just our age difference. He had shown no respect for me even though I was experienced and knew what I was doing. I had no respect for his incompetence and inexperience and my success made him look bad.
But the bottom line: our client’s social media suffered from this fool.
When we went to the new business presentation to a Chinese company in Silicon Valley (which I mentioned in my previous blog), which was for social media and not PR, Lark didn’t present to the client. He hardly said anything at all until forced to by our boss.
The boss’ other son Brian, also a Millennial, a former gym trainer who sadly handles our new business outreach with no experience!!!, had to give the presentation, which was questionable as well. But at least he did it.
Is it any wonder we didn’t get the business.
This is when I realized just how much our agency was in trouble with Lark handling our social media.
I once asked my boss why he didn’t replace Lark as he was clearly incompetent. My boss said he didn’t want to bring on a more experienced social media manager because they would demand more money. So instead, he cheaped out, and our agency’s performance suffered because of it.
Strangely, the only time Lark was sociable at all was with his Millennial colleagues.
Lark’s shallow partner in Millennial crime was naturally Lydia. But he also hung out a lot with a strange Millennial freak from India that joined our team to do research and help out with social media. Arushi was very short and wide, long black hair and an odd looking round face. She was very timid and shy, quiet and also only came out of her shell around other Millennials, namely Lark and Lydia. Yet Arushi always had this notion that people were trying to hit on her if anyone got too friendly, too. I saw how she got weird once when Code Boy was friendly toward her.
Arushi hardly said anything to me and was actually hostile because of poisoning from Lydia and Lark. She even rudely bumped against me during a new business meeting with a client. I was so outraged by her rudeness I barely could stay long for the meeting.
Yet Arushi was a fraud, too, of sorts. My boss and Brian praised her research skills, yet I once had her do a competitive analysis for one of our PR clients. It was inadequate, to say the least. The interns I eventually hired to help me in my PR department made her work look terrible. However, she took the cake for me, when before she left our firm, she actually walked into my boss’ office and demanded a $70K salary to stay working there as her internship was coming to a close. She was barely out of school and knew nothing about marketing or social media and was asking for this??? Millennial stupidity and arrogance will never cease to amaze me.
So, after several months there, I finally had it with Lark, and his inept ways and let my boss know of my displeasure with his lame social media performance, and his having no communication with me. It all came to head as my boss and Lark got into a series of arguments about his lame performance and willful ignorance.
This didn’t improve anything between me and Lark, but it did lead to his departure from our firm a couple of months later much to my relief.
However, be careful what you wish for.
Lark’s replacement was actually worse.
More on that in my next blog.