Millennials are often treated like an exotic species.
For any budding naturalist, the key to understanding a species is to observe it in the wild. That’s why those wringing their hands over how agencies can appeal to the young, fickle and talented would be wise to scan the Twitter feeds of the industry’s next generation of leadership to figure out what makes them tick.
We scoured Twitter for young staffers with great accounts. Here’s how they approach Twitter, both for work and for fun. Here are the agency millennials you must follow on Twitter:
Chris Parker, junior copywriter, R/GA
just completed some new rebranding for twitter pic.twitter.com/bTEYsEvGEv
— chris (@BassoonJokes) October 16, 2015
Parker uses Twitter to test the limits of what’s possible with words — whether through telling stories, jokes or just passing observations about the guitar solo in “Hotel California.” He describes his own feed as “this always-on pipeline for weird thoughts.” But he also sees tremendous utility in the platform, using it for “casual social listening.” He also thinks it has helped him become a more concise writer, which has helped him get better at his job. “Why use twenty words when I only need twenty characters? Twitter has taught me to create more powerful ideas with fewer words. And that comes in handy all the time.”
Matt Keck, copywriter, VML
For Keck, Twitter is where instead of making a joke in his head, he can share it with the rest of the world. He calls it “batting practice” for his real job, where he can swing at everything and see what hits, and then take everything he learns and use it for work, like when he’s running the Wendy’s Twitter account. “When I’m responding to people for Wendy’s Twitter, I try to make it feel similar to a personal Twitter — only now I’m hanging out with 800,000 people, and we all really love cheeseburgers.”
Scott Beard, account planner, McKinney
You’re not doing your job right unless you’re slipping a Mean Girls gif into a presentation deck.
— Scott (@scobeard) June 16, 2015
Beard’s feed is peppered with humorous and snappy observations about agency life. He also derives inspiration from Twitter — not just from industry trade publications, but also from social science blogs, science and technology profiles, popular culture experts and comedians. “Comedians have such an awesome way of seeing things no one else really notices and offering an entirely unique perspective,” he said. “And they offer these perspectives in short, wonderfully entertaining ways. So much of that is exactly what we as an industry try to do: observe something, find a problem, have a point of view and convey it in a compelling way.”
Nathalie Con, senior strategist, Giant spoon
Con describes her feed as “cultural vomit,” where she muses on everything from entertainment to cultural events and shares pictures that aren’t cool enough for Instagram, all in a sometimes nerdy, sometimes droll and “slightly feminist-slightly sarcastic” tone. “If people judged me from my Twitter feed, they’d probably think that I’m the type of person who laughs at my own jokes. :/” She also tweets about happenings around the office, Giant Spoon field trips and company culture stuff and tests out new technology. “I think it’s beneficial for Giant Spoon’s clients (especially the ones who follow me) to know that the people working on their business are excited about their industry and, most importantly, their brand,” she said.
Arthur Stewart, art director, GSD&M
Bar just autocorrected to Bae. Someone take my phone from me.
— Arthur Stewart (@arthurstewartjr) October 4, 2015
Stewart tweets constantly, because that many status updates on Facebook would make him obnoxious. He describes his tone as “irreverent, caffeinated, occasionally inebriated, sometimes abrasive” — and replete with out-of-context MasterChef quotes. But for him, the best use of the platform at work is being able to share his work and get feedback almost instantly. “Being able to see live responses to the work I’ve helped produce is pretty amazing,” he said. “For example, watching people share their feedback and high scores in real time on Chipotle’s Taste Invaders (a virtual galactic battle I helped create against artificial ingredients) was both valuable and entertaining.”
Madison Jackson, copywriter, DDB Chicago
I think one of my favorite things to read is the writing on bathroom stalls. There is some absolute god damn poetry on those walls. — Madison Jackson (@misslippytime) October 17, 2015
Jackson uses Twitter as soundboard for jokes and a place where she can be culturally relevant and funny in 140 characters or less. She doesn’t hesitate to post about agency life a fair amount either. “My AD and I can be overheard saying, ‘You should tweet that’ multiple times a day,” she said.
Anna Russett, social strategist, Havas Worldwide Chicago
Instagram is inspirational. Pinterest is aspirational. YouTubes hard but super rewarding. Vines = lol. Snapchats real. Twitters conversation
— Anna Russett (@AnnaRussett) October 14, 2015
Russett has quite a massive army of teen girl followers, which she attributes to her “cool, selfie-taking, in-the-know BFF” tone and the fact that she frequently ruminates about feminism and how societal inequalities persistently manifest in everyday life. But it works both ways, as she has a lot to learn from her 22,000 plus audience as well. “My Twitter has informed the way I think about diversity in an agency and has also helped provide authentic insights into millennial culture for many of our clients,” she said. “Since I’m always in communication with my audience of young girls, I know what the latest trends are and what they care most about, which I can bring to the table when developing social media strategies for clients who want to know how to effectively communicate with a younger audience.”
Danae Belanger, art director, DDB Chicago
“I use Twitter to tell the world about little things I saw that day, make observations on human truths, commiserate with other New York Giants fans and to live-tweet reality television,” said Belanger. She is also heavy on posts about work and agency life because for her, agency life and her regular life are basically the same thing. “I’m here all the time, and when I’m not, I can’t swing a purse in this city without hitting an advertisement,” she said.
Kate Proulx, senior product designer, Huge
“I like a very specific brand of ugly.” -my new bio on Tinder
— Kate (@proulxsie) October 12, 2015
Proulx describes her Twitter feed as “a bunch of meaningless one-liners from a yet-to-be-greenlit reality TV show,” of which she’s the star. Her tweets are tongue-in-cheek and she follows the same kind of people — those that make her laugh. “I like to follow people I know who tweet the kind of stupid and funny texts they’d normally send in a group chat.”
Homepage image via Shutterstock.
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