What We Learned at Twitter
By Caroline Cakebread, Junior Newhouse NYC student and MAG major
The field trips that we get to take with our Newhouse NYC classes are about as far as you can get from the typical museum trip, and on Wednesday, March 30, the Race, Gender, and Media class visited the NYC Twitter offices for yet another awesome trip. We were wowed to say the least. Our guide was Jozen Cummings, an editorial curator for Twitter’s new Moments feature. He started the visit off with a tour of the office and our first stop was at the “coffee shop” that is just for Twitter employees. Jozen said he arrives an hour early to work (willingly) just to hang there and enjoy pour over coffees and lattes. Next stop was the huge Twitter cafeteria – another favorite of Jozens’. The chefs were preparing dinner when we arrived which, like breakfast, lunch and snacks galore, is free to everyone who works in the building. After seeing a few more desk and cubicle free work spaces we stopped at the “avery” room for a Q and A with Jozen. Here are three things we learned about work and life:
1. Know your industry.
“My obsession with the media industry has taken me far,” said Jozen. He emphasized the importance of keeping up with industry trends and news for whatever field you are trying to go into.Knowing how an industry operates has helped him in job interviews and beyond. “I know how it works and can have a conversation with people about the industry,” he said. This is a skill not everyone walks into an interview with, and that can really separate you from the other resumes.
2.Love where you work.
On Twitter’s main floor there is a large neon lettered sign that reads “#lovewhereyouwork.” Jozen said this has become a motto around the office, and that there is a lot more to it than just the employees’ appreciation of free food. Working with people who you care about and who care about you is so important. You spend more time with them during the week than pretty much anyone else so actually wanting to be around them is key. Snacks aside, Jozen said caring about his team and the company is what has made Twitter a great place to work for him.
3.A scary first day is a good sign.
Jozen was a journalism major at Howard University and worked in editorial roles at places like Vibe and the New York Post before coming to Twitter. We were curious how his editorial skills transferred into the tech world, and Jozen said that it was not the easiest move but that the scariness of the first few days was totally worth it. “If you do get scared you probably made right move,” he said. The Moments feature essentially incorporates an editorial voice into the general Twitter feed. People like Jozen curate the top tweets and things people are talking about and his journalism skills were a perfect fit. He also mentioned that while the tech world has its own challenging language, he quickly realized “we are all just speaking English” and basic communication skills transfer well into any industry.