5 Things I learned during my Internship at Twitter
A guide to what its like to intern with the world’s hottest media company
When I got an offer to intern at Twitter’s HQ in San Francisco for the Summer of 2014, I knew that it would be an incredible experience. As an NYU Marketing Graduate Student, having the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Brand Strategy team seemed like the perfect fit. I’ve always been passionate about tech and art, and this position encompassed both.
I had an idea what Twitter would be like before flying from NYC to SF. It wasn’t until I got there that I realized how lucky I was. Every day I kept getting surprised by the amount of things interns were exposed to, both professionally and for fun. Prior to Twitter, I had not worked in a tech company, so this was all very new to me. So, if you’re interested in interning at Twitter, here’s a list of the 5 things I learned/did. These are based on some of Twitter’s core Values, which can be found here.
1. Reach every person on the planet
During my first two days at Twitter I attended Flight School, which serves as a initiation bootcamp for both interns (called “terns”) and full-time employees. It was very interesting to see that several top executives including Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, come to stage every Monday to welcome the new hires and take questions. This shows that the mission of the organization, of reaching every person on the planet, starts from within the org. No job is too small for Twitter and everyone has a voice.
I really enjoyed how Twitter is committed to their community, and during my first week they held “Friday for Good”, which is a company wide volunteering day. My team and I went to help in a soup kitchen in SF. Not only Twitter wants to be the platform where you connect with anyone around the world, but it also focuses on connecting with their communities nearby.
It’s easy to loose track of the big picture with everything that is going on around the office (aka “Twoffice”), and projects in your team. However, this core value proved to be one of the most useful during my internship: Simplify.
Just like Twitter’s nature of 140 characters, the way that people work is efficient, simple, and clean. Meetings are short and sweet, and straight to the point. That allows for the best use of your day and time. The org holds weekly Tea Times, in which the entire company gets together and chats about new product releases, happenings in the company/industry, and a very open Q&A. This system allows for transparency within the company while keeping everyone connected.
Refuel and go. Work-life balance is great.
3. Innovate through experimentation
This is one of the pillars of Twitter’s culture, and it equally applies in digital marketing to the work that Twitter does with the brands that partner with them. As Joel Lunenfeld, VP, Global Brand Strategy says, the top 3 tips for capturing an audience quickly, creatively, and effectively are:
1) Become a #Live storyteller – listen to your customers and incorporate their narrative into yours.
2) Recency and relevance beats production value.
3) Turn the camera around and give the world a point of view they haven’t seen before.
These 3 tips all focus on constant evolution and improvement of your ideas, by staying recent, present, and realizing that success lies in experimenting and incorporating other views to ours.
During my time at Twitter, there was innovation happening every day, in small and large scale. Working on campaigns for the top brands of the world, meant that having an open mind and a deep knowledge of the business was paramount for creating something meaningful that would set our clients apart in the platform.
Innovation also came in the form of videos, while goofing around with the Vine team on a Friday afternoon, and getting work done of course…
Also, at one of our client meetings, my team brought in surprise mariachis! This was a way to break the rules, and keep clients on their toes. In HQs, meetings are not ordinary, to say the least. No surprise why the top brands of the world partner with Twitter.
4. Communicate fearlessly to build trust
As part of the Brand Strategy team, I attended the the Global Sales Conference (GSC), which is an annual event held in San Francisco, for all the revenue org around the world. This meant that for a week, the tweeps (aka coworkers at Twitter) from all the satellite offices including Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia would come to HQ to bond with each other and re-connect on our mission.
I took the lead in creating and managing the first official GSC Twitter Account, and creating content for it. This allowed me to interview, record, and live tweet the event and speakers, both in stage and back stage. I loved the opportunity to be the voice of this global conference and allow all the different people to connect and express themselves through this Twitter account.
Trust is built by being honest, and communicating openly. As Dick Costolo says: “The way you build trust with your people is by being forthright and clear with them from day one. You may think people are fooled when you tell them what they want to hear. They are not fooled.”
5. Seek diverse perspectives
- Twitter connects people to what is most meaningful in the world RIGHT NOW, through discovery and self-expression.
- Twitter is that mainstay participation platform that is always on.
- Twitter’s true differentiation, for users and for brands, is in the area of “live” participation. Over the past few weeks, I have been describing Twitter as the Nervous System of the Internet.
The idea that Twitter is the Nervous System of the internet is a perfect metaphor to showing how the platform is a representation in real time, of the various perspectives of people around the world.
Having diverse perspectives was also incredibly valuable for our team, and it was thanks to teamwork that we were able to ship quality marketing campaigns for our clients. Everyone had a different talent, and we all celebrated our differences.
This is during my last week at Twitter. As you can see, fun spurs creativity, both outside and inside the office.
Its all about teamwork!
The last day of my internship came along with a report from Glassdoor, naming Twitter as the #1 company for best culture and values. Check the list here. This is definitely a place that welcomes you, and helps you grow to be your best.
May it be in Brand Strategy, Engineering, Sales, Product, HR, etc, I’m sure you will find a place at Twitter for you. For more info about “joining the flock” (aka recruiting), see below.
#Join the Flock
For internships and job opportunities at Twitter, click here.
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This post is part of Inbound Marketing Clinic, a research project for NYU Grad School.