140 Characters From the Inside: An Interview With Twitter Employees

*I wrote this post originally for the socialmediaremixed WordPress blog, but I figured I would share it here too*


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I recently sat down (digitally) with some of my friends who work at Twitter to pick their brains about the company. I also gave them a little challenge: Answer my questions in a tweet. 140 characters or less.

Let’s meet our participants.

In the BLUE corner – Representing San Francisco, the Twitter Sales Team, and the Wu-Tang Clan, Mark “@TweetGuyMark” Friese!

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In the GREEN corner – Representing Texas, the Twitter Brand Strategy Team, and Manly Beard Stubble, Ben “@graf” Grafentin!

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And last but not least,

In the ORANGE corner – Representing the greater Boston Metropolitan area, Twitter Interns, and sexy mustaches, Dave “@davedolben” Dolben!

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Let’s begin, shall we?

@doddy503 What do/did you do at Twitter?

@TweetGuyMark I’m an Account Manager on Twitter’s sales team, essentially a consultant to our advertisers who are promoting content on Twitter.

@graf I work with the world’s largest advertisers to ideate and execute custom creative programs #BrandStrategy

@davedoblen I built an internal analytics tool to get cool statistics and fancy graphs.

@doddy503 How long have/did you work(ed) there?

@TweetGuyMark I’ve worked here for a little over 2 years – started in June of 2011 as an intern in our Human Resources department.

@graf Time is flying! I’ve been at Twitter for almost a year and half.

@davedoblen 12 week, summer of 2012

@doddy503 Do/did you like working there?

@TweetGuyMark Love it. The culture is fantastic, the product is amazing, and there is a transparency here that you don’t find at all growing companies.

@graf I love working at Twitter. Amazing people, great product, and an incredible environment.

@davedoblen I liked it a lot. Twitter’s a big company, but still manages to feel like it’s half the size.

@doddy503 I hear that your headquarters is pretty sweet down in San Francisco. Best feature?

@TweetGuyMark Definitely the roof deck. On sunny days there is no finer place to be in the city. Great spot to hang out and get some work done.

@graf Improv classes. Keeps my mind sharp, allows me to meet new people, and get out of my comfort zone.

@davedoblen Definitely the food. The chefs in Twitter’s kitchen are killin’ it over there.

@doddy503 Any cool Twitter stories?

@TweetGuyMark A lot of celebs love Twitter, so we get cool guests from time to time. I hosted Charlie Murphy for a Q&A – as a Chappelle fan, doesn’t get better.

@graf Last week Kobe Bryant played pop-a-shot in one of our game rooms. He scored 87 points. My high score is 120. Considering going pro.

@davedoblen I got to hear from some pretty cool guest speakers while I was there. Aziz Ansari and Katie Couric are the two that come to mind.

@doddy503 Favorite Twitter account to follow? Best Twitter celebrity?

@TweetGuyMark Samuel L. Jackson absolutely kills it on Twitter. His London Olympics tweets… gotta read ’em to believe ’em.

@graf I’m a pretty big fan of @animalmashups right now and my all time is @ModernSeinfeld. A must follow for Seinfeld fans.

@davedoblen I’m torn between Popular Science and some more ridiculous accounts, like the Goldman Sachs Elevator. Comedic gold, with a hint of truth.

@doddy503 Best Tweet of all time?

@TweetGuyMark During the Super Bowl, folks speculated Twitter might crash because of the volume of tweets. Then the lights went out but Twitter stayed up. Prompting this: https://twitter.com/rsarver/status/298245885517783042

@graf4 More Years” from Obama after he won is the most Retweeted moment of all time. Tough to beat.

@davedoblen Anything that I posted.

@doddy503 How important is Twitter to the world?

@TweetGuyMark Very important. It’s an unprecedented conversation / connection medium that’s being used for amazing things.

@graf Twitter is an extremely versatile platform that has been a critical part of revolutions, helped people connect in the aftermath of natural disasters, and much more

@davedoblen In more ways than most people realize. It’s a communication channel in places where communication is hard.

@doddy503 How important is social media to the world?

@TweetGuyMark Also very important, but for different reasons. Social media possesses the potential to enrich your life, regardless of platform.

@graf Social media has become a huge part of everyday life. Being in the techie bubble probably makes me biased, but it’s rare going a day without it. A good and bad thing.

@davedoblen I’m still not completely sold here. It’s important, sure. We just choose to use it in ways that make me sad. And laugh hysterically.

@doddy503 How is the upcoming IPO going to change the company?

@TweetGuyMark (Declined to comment)

@graf (Declined to comment)

@davedoblen Probably won’t change too much. Might make them a little more profit-driven, with responsibilities to shareholders and such.

@doddy503 Could you imagine 2013 without Twitter?

@TweetGuyMark You know, I can. And I think it would be a 2013 with its voice box removed. That’s kind of a disturbing image, I apologize.

@graf It has become an amazing tool for breaking news, learning, entertainment and it’s a huge part of my life so it’s tough to imagine it. That being said I do remember life pre-Twitter J

@davedoblen I like to think I could, because I don’t actually use Twitter much right now, but it influences a lot of things I don’t think about daily

@doddy503 Was Twitter an inevitable concept of the social media age? Would it exist today in some capacity if Jack Dorsey didn’t create it in 2006

@TweetGuyMark I think the idea of a subscriber-based information network was inevitable once text messaging came along. But Jack had the vision first – props!

@graf Tough question, but I could speculate. Jack Dorsey is an innovative guy that had an amazing idea. Not the easiest thing in the world to think of a great concept and then build it.

@davedoblen Yes, I think it would exist without Jack Dorsey. Sure, he’s a smart guy, but it’s not a complicated concept. Someone would have come up with it in one form or another.

@doddy503 Has Twitter saturated its concept or do you think there is a lot more growth and innovation to come from the brand?

@TweetGuyMark You would be amazed at the projects people are working on at Twitter, during hackweeks or otherwise. There is much more to come.

@graf Twitter is constantly growing, innovating, and trying to create a better experience for users.

@davedoblen Twitter as a concept is extremely simple, and I feel like it’s hard to innovate a lot without changing the core functionality of the product

@doddy503 Do you think 140 characters are enough to really say anything worth saying?

@TweetGuyMark Constraints lead to creativity. Twitter’s limit can be frustrating sometimes, but brevity is an essential element of the platform.

@graf Absolutely. Comedians, politicians, brands, and a wide variety of individuals tell incredible stories everyday. #CreativtyThroughConcision

@davedoblen Sure. It forces you to be concise. If you have more to say than you can fit in 140 characters, find a different medium.

@doddy503 If you could introduce one rule that all Twitter users had to abide by, what would it be (i.e. no hashtaging the entire tweet)?

@TweetGuyMark Everyone has to follow @BurlCoatFactory. https://twitter.com/BurlCoatFactory/status/364836910394388480

@graf Don’t drink and Tweet. Dangerous combo.

@davedoblen Think before you tweet. And use spell check, for God’s sake.

@doddy503 If Twitter existed in 1776, what would George Washington tweeted at King George III after signing the Declaration of Independence?

@TweetGuyMark Your move, sucka.

@graf @KingGeorgeIII so don’t be mad, but things aren’t working out…

@davedoblen Suck it, George.

@doddy503 Along those lines, which US President (living or dead) would have had the best Twitter feed?

@TweetGuyMark Something tells me an FDR Twitter feed would have been clutch. George W would have been interesting too for completely different reasons.

@graf Bill Clinton just joined Twitter and I’m pretty excited to see what kind of material he starts putting out there.

@davedoblen I don’t know US history well enough to answer this one, although I’d love to hear G W Bush or Bill Clinton’s personal thoughts.

@doddy503 Tupac or Biggie: Who would have had the better Twitter feed?

@TweetGuyMark I think Pac’s would have been more inspirational, but Biggie would have used his for his great lines. And there are many of those!

@graf Tupac for sure #CaliforniaLove

@davedoblen No Comment.

@doddy503 Is there someone you can think of who really ought to stop Tweeting?

@TweetGuyMark Jose Canseco’s Twitter account is hilarious so I don’t want him to stop, but at the same time he probably should for his own self-image.

@graf Amanda Bynes was having a rough time there for a while…

@davedoblen Charlie Sheen, but that’s really cliche. There’s a lot of useless stuff on Twitter, so it’s good that it’s easy to find good content.

@doddy503 What is the future of Twitter?

@TweetGuyMark We see new, innovative uses of Twitter all the time, so it’s tough to say. But it will permeate news, music, sports, etc. for sure.

@graf An even better platform for people to enjoy

@davedoblen Honestly, I’m not sure. The nature of the platform makes it hard to predict what they’ll do next. I think it’ll be around for a while though.

@doddy503 Thanks for doing the interview. Any closing remarks?

@TweetGuyMark Appreciate you reaching out! Always love to talk about life at the Tweet Shop.

@graf I’ve heard @graf is an excellent person to follow. #FollowMe #ImActuallyATerribleTweeter

@davedoblen It is really hard to answer complex questions in < 140 characters. Makes me wish I was a better wordsmith.

@socialmediarmxd Show these guys some love and give them a follow on Twitter.


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