I got this notebook a few weeks ago on a trip to California. It was cool at the time, but the real meaning didn’t hit home for me until a few days later, when I found myself staring down one of the most amazing and terrifying opportunities of my career.
Going to work for Facebook
There have been different versions of this post over the years. They’re from people I’ve followed, respected, modeled my work after. One day, there’s a tweet. They have some exciting news to share. The first one I can remember was from Amy Thibodeau. Then Tiffany Jones (and Matt) Brown, Nicole Jones, and a few weeks ago, Jonathan Colman.
I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great content strategists over the last few years. We’ve hung out in Austin, met at conferences, joked on Twitter, shared pictures of our kids and dogs on Facebook. But I’ve never gotten to work alongside one–let alone an entire team.
But today, I’m honored and humbled and excited (and, yes, a little afraid) to say that I’ll be joining their team, as well. In a few short weeks, my family will pack up, go west and stake our claim in the Bay area.
But is there really that much “content” on Facebook?
It’s true, the vast majority of the “content” on Facebook is user generated text, photos, videos and data. But all of that stuff is in there for a reason. People like being there, they like the connections Facebook gives them to their friends, co-workers, high school classmates–and to companies.
Content strategy plays a part in all of that. If you’ve ever tried out a new Facebook feature or layout, read the succinct little instructional messages that tell you how something works, created a Page, changed your settings, or “Liked” something–you’ve benefited from content strategy at Facebook. Want to know why there’s no “Dislike” button? Content strategy. (C’mon, people are negative enough already, without encouragement from their platforms.)
Facebook is more than a container for other people’s content (or even a foam). The Facebook Asset Guide describes it like this:
At Facebook, we build tools that help people to connect with one another and tools that make sharing what they want to share—ideas, stories, and photos—much easier.
By doing this, we are extending people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships.
To do that, Facebook needs a voice that makes people feel comfortable, fosters their relationships and encourages them to share their stories. That’s what I’ll be working on.
But speaking of building and maintaining relationships…
Leaving Austin will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done
Eight years ago, my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I packed our things into my little Ford Ranger and drove from Virginia to Austin with no idea what we were getting into. She was going to UT for grad school, and I was going wherever she was to do… something.
We’ve done pretty well for ourselves here, all things considered:
We made lifelong friends.
We found great jobs.
We adopted two fantastic dogs.
We learned the beauty of breakfast tacos and Texas BBQ.
We survived record heat and drought.
Oh, and we had a kid.
As we weighed the options for our future, I saw this tweet from my friend, Stu Smith:
I was lucky enough to be a part of Richard Garriott’s talk (with the Creative Mornings team: Ben Thoma, Brian Thompson, Tiffany Duening and Kelly Hemmeline). The Dribbble community here is overflowing with incredibly talented designers I’m happy to call friends (like Stu, M. Brady Clark, Gerren Lamson and Brendan Pittman). And then the music. God the music.
It was the perfect summation of a long and productive day. Of a long and productive 8 years, really.
What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?
Professionally, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start a career, a family, an adult life.
And now, I can’t imagine a better way way to take the next step in each of those things.
My wife and I have an opportunity to start it all over again, in another city even farther from where we started. But it’s not really all over again. This one will build on what we’ve already done. It’ll extend the networks we’ve already created, and push us even farther than we’ve already pushed ourselves. And it’s not really that far away, because there are so many ways to stay connected to the people and things we love. Like Facebook, for instance.
I’m not afraid.
I can’t wait to get started.
In the meantime, I’ll be connecting with as many people here in Austin as I can, and reaching out to as many people in San Francisco as I can find. Please drop me a note if you’re either one.
(PS. Thanks for reading what has turned into a long, rambling and very self-involved post. It’s hard not to get sentimental in times like these.)