This Developing Story

TDS 90 - The Path From Journalism to DevRel

Episode Summary

In this chat, bdougie sits with Christina Warren to find out how she made the transition from tech journalism to developer relations. We learn insight on creating content and getting the full download for developers.

Episode Notes

Episode Transcription

Episode 90 of this developing story.


all right. What's up? Y'all this is be Douggie back again with some more content for you. Uh, but doing these Twitter spaces. Pretty consistently at this point, every single week, y'all find me at BWL on Twitter and speaking of Twitter, I've got film girl, Christina, Warren, herself, and Christina actually made a switch from journalism tech, journalism, into developer relations.


And I find that actually an interesting transition because. Writing is a really good skillset to have when doing dev REL. So we get into that. We get into Christina's background and what she's working on now. So hope you all enjoy this. And, uh, yeah. Hit me up on Twitter. If you're interested in chatting with me.


All right, let's jump into it. I tried to kind of turn the balance. Cause on the one hand, I know that people want to follow me for Debra contact stuff and I get that. My username is, is, uh, deceiving because when I joined Twitter in 27, in 2007, I didn't know it was going to become my online identity. I was just a college student.


And so, you know, it is what it is. Um, but, um, I dunno, I think over the years, I, I put more of my own personality out there, but I certainly know there are people who are like, I wish you would just tweet about this one thing. And I'm like, look, sometimes I wish I would too, but I'm to show this the full self.


Sometimes I feel like to be authentic. Yeah. And it's funny. Uh, I want to get the story, but I had that on Tik TOK where I was making this random six socks. And then I hit like some of commenting on same company interviews, like white boarding interviews. Yeah. And someone responded said, Hey, I'd love to do this type of tick.


Uh, this type of content. Like, I feel like you do, like, this is better content over here and Tik TOK. And I was like, oh, that's interesting. Like this was like tongue in cheek. Like to start F a funny joke and that's become my persona. So funny. Yeah. I did this thing when, uh, when we used to be able to travel a lot where I would do hotel Instagram live, where I would like do Christina's hotel tour, hotel room tours, and the number of people who.


I like I was at a conference once and people came up to me. I was at XO XO, which is like a arts and tech and kind of meta kind of mashup thing. And peop there are people who, I didn't even know, they followed me on Instagram and they were like, oh, Your hotel tours. I, and to this day I have people, you know, it's it's, cause it's been a couple of years since I've been able to do them regularly.


They're like, oh man, I miss those so much. And it's so funny, you know, like you, with your, with your white boarding and stuff, people feel the same thing. Like, oh, you should do a YouTube channel or you should do this or that. I'm like, I'm just shit posting on Instagram. Literally. I'm just, you know, uh, Walking through my hotel room.


Yeah. And it's, it's, it's funny how you said a follow that things like that. But what I want to talk about is how you fell into the Deveraux side of tech. Cause I know you've been, you've been in the space for awhile, uh, and the way we've had nice conversations, uh, I actually record these, I thought it I'm on a podcast, which is called this developing story.


This sculpting is the website. And so everybody's here. Shout out to Chad. Uh, who's hanging out with. And a couple other familiar faces tech rallies. I was actually here too as well. Um, but we usually start with like, I only have actually three questions. And the first question is who are you and how did you get here?


We actually, if that's the first two questions, um, so you could answer that any way you want, because I know you have a, you have a very detailed history, which I find very unique, but we can, we can sort of cover different bullet points. Yeah. Okay. So I'm Christina Warren and I am a senior cloud developer advocate at Microsoft.


Um, I, my focus is on the Linux ecosystem, kind of like the, the dev, uh, ecosystem and trying to make it easier for, uh, Linux stabs to build stuff on Azure. And I've been at Microsoft for four and a half years. And, um, I, uh, We'll talk about this a little bit more, but, um, how I got here, how I got to Deborah or how I got on this podcast?


Cause how I got up this podcast was just UGM bay. So that's, that's how you got into Devereaux is probably the more, more interesting, the more interesting thing. Okay. All right. So, um, Kind of interesting. So I've been doing this, I've been in Debra, formerly for four and a half years. I've been at Microsoft for four and a half years.


Uh, before that though, I spent about a decade as, um, as technology and business journalist. And so I wrote a lot about technology and I, um, uh, I guess going way, way for that. I've always been interested in tech and I've been building websites and things like that, basically since I was 12, 13 years old, but I didn't study that formerly that wasn't my career.


Um, uh, I wound up kind of falling into journalism, which is a whole other rabbit hole, but I did that for a decade. And one of the first things that I was writing about when I was kind of first getting started, I was writing about, um, a lot of consumer tech stuff, but I would also write about kind of more developer centric tech stuff.


And so, um, uh, but, but a lot of who I was writing to was was very much kind of a broad mainstream audience. Um, but I, because I'm just a tech nerd in general and assistant that I've grown up with and loved, I always, uh, Really still, it might like they told us happening in the developer communities and when there'll be changes to different, you know, like what's happening this past year with all the app store drama and the, and the Google play drama, um, around, you know, uh, whether or not you can have third party in-app purchases with the epic trial and, you know, like apps for review things and different new, you know, uh, API is coming out to allow for different features or this or that.


Those would be things that I would write about. Obviously talk to developers to want to get their take on what was happening, if there was any cool new framework coming out. Like I wrote some posts about no JS, I think in, in 2009 or 2010. And, uh, you know, um, kind of seeing like what the big movements were happening, you know, in, in the space and the big trends and, and talk to people about why this or that was cool.


Trying to explain. Y a certain things were happening. Um, and so, uh, and, and also just writing, you know, mainstream, you know, security stories or, uh, interviewing gadget. So a lot of it was consumer focused, but I always, with what, by writing a lot of what I did did have kind of a developer focus. Like I was able to convince, I worked at a website called Mashable for, for seven years.


Um, I was, uh, one of their first employees and, um, Like them send me to WWDC one year as a developer. So I didn't go strictly as media who would attend the keynote and, and maybe the, the state of the, um, app, um, address, uh that's in the afternoon. Um, but I, um, attended the entire week and like went to the developer sessions and, um, kind of, you know, wrote about my experiences with that.


And so. When I got the opportunity to join Microsoft, uh, and I, uh, was originally pegged to do something that's a little bit different than what I do now, but I very quickly made my way out to the d'aprile team. Um, my video experience and my experience with podcasting and storytelling, I knew that would come in here.


But I also felt like it was interesting. I had kind of this past experience of, you know, talking to developers, keeping tabs on things that developers were doing. And I really felt like it would be a fun opportunity to continue to engage with that kind of work and to, you know, you can become more technical myself and learn new skills myself and try to help other people both learn cool new things, but also advocate.


What they need, you know, to, to go to our product teams and say, Hey, this isn't working right. Or is there a solution for this? Or have you thought about doing it this way? Or I might even have a solution to this to try to make the whole process of double of development easier and better. Yeah. That, that's awesome.


And I'm curious, like in the, the places that you, you worked at, um, it's like Mashable and Gizmodo, Gizmodos your bio as well? Um, was it normal to have like a developer. Like on the technical writing staff or the sort of journalism. No, no, that was totally just the fact that I liked it. And when I tried about it and we kind of pushed those things, um, I wish that it was more common and in some places there are, you know, some places that will do more enterprise tech stuff and some places that have more focus.


I think there is with Mashable. I was so early when I joined, there were nine people in the company. We all worked remotely. Um, uh, the company. Within a couple of years kind of more formalized in, in New York city. And we also had a San Francisco bureau and then opened international offices. But when I first started, you know, it was, uh, Pete Cashmore the founder.


I don't even know. In the United States yet? Um, on, uh, permanently, I think that he was only coming in occasionally. Um, and we were like, I joined right as they, I guess, kind of finished kind of, they were in the process of shifting from being a mostly kind of freelancer system to actually. Hiring salary people.


And we were covering, um, the, the name that was initially about when he started the blog in 2005 or 2006, was about, uh, mashups of different things on the web, uh, between, you know, API and STKs. And cause you'd see a lot of sets in the web 2.0 era where you'd have people take, okay, I'm going to take the flicker API and the YouTube API and, and throw something together.


And, and you had a lot of, kind of. You know, in that, uh, kind of like the headiest of that, the frothiest web 2.0 days, a lot of people building brand new social experiences and, and using Ajax, which was brand new then. And, and, um, really taking advantage of, of the fact that the web could not be. A true application platform to do some really interesting things.


And so Mashable, when it started covered a lot of those servers, a lot of, you know, kind of the consumer features, but also covered how people could leverage those things themselves, that they wanted to build their own services. You had a lot of the early stuff that we did. We had a lot of people who read us, you know, who were startup founders, a lot of marketers and the people who were early into SEO and, and people who were early influencers, which would be the term we would use now.


Um, as well as people who just wanted to kind of keep up on like, what is the next big trend happening? Like what is the thing I should be following? And so, um, when I joined, you know, I was interested in all those same things too. And so it became more natural, I guess, for me to have that more of a technical side, to be able to bring that to the conversation.


Now, I don't think that's necessarily. And necessarily, I don't think you need to have always have that, but for me, because it was a personal passion and because I was early enough at the company, I was able to kind of before it into being one of my beats and one of my, one of the things that I would cover and what I found was it was actually really useful for me as a journalist.


Um, even though I'm like not the worlds. Uh, program or debit all. Um, I can definitely do enough to be dangerous and to break things, but if I'm not the world's best, but I'm also not the worst, but it was helpful to me that I could talk to, uh, you know, product teams. I could talk to engineers and I can have a real conversation with them above just like the surface kind of.


Um, bullet points that sometimes I feel like people have to talk to press people about like, even if I didn't write all those details in my stories, if I could get a better understanding about how something worked, um, then it would give, it would give me more context for how to, how to shape the story.


And, um, so that was, that was really cool, but no, I mean, I think that it varies based on the person, uh, but uh, a lot of it, I think it was just me being passionate about certain things and being like, oh, I think this is cool. And we should write about. And then, you know, the, the, the hubris of youth of just being, you know, they may like, I'm just going to do it, you know?


Yeah. I mean, that's, that's awesome too, as well. And like the timing, and this is like, it sounds like this, my, my next statement will be tongue in cheek because, uh, the current environment. The around that time, when you were saying Mashable or the mashup of different SDKs APIs, that makes a lot of sense. I didn't actually even realize that was like early Mashables.


I was a reader of all that, all that content and context and doing like Twitter box and back then the Netflix API was like the one thing I was like really getting into, and then they shut it down. Once they got back. Um, but what I'm getting at is like the, the access to the quote unquote web too. And I, I sent it quote unquote, cause like I felt like it could be the secondary term for some reason, I'm saying.


Yeah. So I don't quite, I'm not looking to, uh, start this into a whole web D three web to discretion, but that's the one thing I, I, I, when I'm looking for in the web three space is I want people to actually talk about. As I said, as if I'm a developer and just forget about the price of Bitcoin or whatever it is totally like, tell me how to build something.


I, I, I actually totally agree with you. And that's what was exciting and look obviously, uh, I, I can't remember who it was actually. I think that it was a. Uh, the, the Netscape CEO, um, uh, last name start with an L I can't think of his name right now who said that they're like two businesses bundling and unbundling, which is completely true by the way.


But what was, you know, I I'm, I'm a fan of kind of these ideas of de-centralization and, and I like you, I don't want to get into a whole debate on what three, but I think what was powerful about web two, and obviously it did kind of go into this centralized place where you have these very, very big players, but when it started.


I think the thing that brought a lot of us into it was this idea that you've had access to these APIs and you had access to be the bill on top of things. And, and the reason that it was web two is because with both push and pull it, wasn't just pulling the content down. It was being able to, you know, push your own back out to, and, um, like, you know, You know, putting any of the other stuff of crypto aside, like I would like to see more from a developer perspective of how can we build top of these things and how can we interweave these things together more than just, okay.


I can build a coin, right. Or, or I can, I can sell, you know, uh, an empty, like, to me, that's not, that's not that interesting. Be more interested in me and like, okay, how could this be used as the basis for something that was like, could you build with the next discord or something on, on a blockchain system?


And if you could, w w could you make an argument that that would be better than just using a database? Now? My personal opinion, probably not, but I'm not tied to that. Right. To be able to see that sort of experimentation, because I think that's what. About that era. I, um, I graduated from college in 2007 and started writing, um, 2007, 2008.


And, um, that was kind of like that heyday of that, you know, kind of movement. And, and there was just so much experimentation happening, which was really, really fun because so many of the big companies and big ideas that we see, many of them did start out with people, just, you know, attaching things together and seeing, okay.


Let's let's put an RS that let's, you know, scrape the RSS from this and, and, and feed it into that. And, and what could this become? Yeah. Mean, you, you mentioned RSS, which another triggering word for me. Cause like I was heavy Google reader, a user. That's how I sort of consume all the content that you and your other folks, a journalist also created, um, which is wild because now that's Twitter.


Now that's become what I use Twitter for is actually the set of a river of. Constant information to stay up to date with things I'm totally the same. I still miss Google reader to this day. And it's funny because I actually remember when reader died. We had so many stories about that. Like I understood.


I mean, honestly, Google reader died, uh, from what I understand from people that I've talked to, basically, because they wanted to try to push everything to Google plus. There weren't like a ton of ton of, of users, but there were more users than with many of the products that they have that they shut down.


But that was a massive story. I just, all the people who were very upset that for years afterwards, we would have residual traffic that would come in to, you know, cause I did like an exhaustive testing of all the different competitors. Could you use these things and what options could you sell post in this and that, because it was a really big deal for a lot of people.


And yeah, I think that for most people, even though I still pay for RSS service, I think most people I'm like you, I, Twitter is primarily kind of my fire hose of that stuff. I have lists my other things and have a few other aggregator sites that I follow, but, but Twitter is kind of largely become my, my place.


Yeah. Um, I think it's might be something for everyone else who's sitting right now, listening to a conversation on Twitter. I'm very like, I guess, nature, um, which is Twitter spaces. Uh, but I wanted to actually move into like your transition from, uh, journalism after a decade and to Deborah, like what, what was the sort of, what sparked the reason to try?


And then I'm also curious at what did you bring any field skillset from? Over to Microsoft and your dev role. Yeah, totally. Um, no, so I mean, honestly the biggest thing was I I'll be completely candid. Some people reached out to me on LinkedIn and they were looking for somebody to do some video content, uh, for developers at Microsoft or for something that we used to have a video channel for many years, it was called channel nine now it's, um, um, uh, Microsoft learn, um, studios, but, uh, somebody reached out to me for a role about that and I hadn't considered.


Doing something like that. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought this could be a really interesting challenge. And, and then to be even more candid, the state of the museum media business. So this was like a spring of 2017, uh, was not great. You know, I'd seen a lot of companies, uh, go bankrupt.


Um, uh, there were a ton of layoffs and this was even before, uh, you know, like the 20, 20 stuff that happened, where there were even more immediately awesome. But the whole landscape. Great. And, um, I was just kinda like, okay, I've been doing this for 10 years. I, you know, I feel like if I got laid off tomorrow, I could probably be able to find another job.


But like my husband, who was actually at a media company, he was like laid off and, and, um, And he was doing some contract work, you know, I'd had other friends who'd been laid off. It was just, it was not a good time. It didn't feel super stable. And so when the opportunity to maybe do something where I could combine kind of my tech, my love of tech and storytelling from a more stable seeming, you know, industry came up, I was like, okay, I think this would be a really good thing to try out.


And I was really scared, you know, to go through the interview loop and, and to, to go through that process. But once I did, um, and I kind of got there, I realized, okay, I can't do this. And then I had to do a lot of learning, obviously, um, which, uh, and I'm still do every day. But the scummy, what was interesting is I thought that my, my technical background would be the biggest benefit for me coming over.


I felt like that would help me the most. Like that's what I thought I was going to have to use as a crutch. I felt like, okay, this will be the thing that will, will make me be able to kind of fit in and, and, you know, get things done. But it wasn't, um, uh, a, my technical skills have increased so significantly since I joined, which is amazing.


But the biggest thing that actually helped. My career. What I didn't realize was my communication skills, especially with Debra, uh, being a writer, being a communicator, having on-camera experience, uh, because when I was a do TB a lot. And so like, uh, you know, when the log for J stuff was happening, when I was still, if I were still working in media, it would have been, I probably would've, you know, gone on TV, like the cable news networks and whatnot, a lot, maybe even some of the mornings.


To explain what the situation was and why the world either was, or was not art. Um, the producers usually wanted to hear about why the sky was falling and usually I'd be like, not this it's fine. And some cases though, you know, like, uh, the, the, you know, Heartbleed like, um, uh, blog for J frankly, I would've been like, yeah, no, this is really bad.


This is really, really bad. Um, but they, they would, they would want somebody who could be approachable and explain things to an audience. So I had on camera. Which was really useful, but the communication skills, I would say were the biggest thing. Just the ability to be able to talk to people and be able to explain things, um, in, um, an informative way and in a concise way, I had no idea how important that would be, but that's, if I, if I could say anything, I think that's probably been the thing that helped me the most when I transitioned.


And that was probably the, uh, realize would be anywhere nearly as useful as it was. Yeah. It's something that I've personally have worked on as a skillset. Like obviously I do this, these Twitter spaces, but also I've done a sort of this onstage speaking, but also recently started like the whole year. And I know it's something that she had been doing.


I believe you've been doing it since your, your journalism career prior, uh, which I'm curious to get your take on because. Obviously the world of Deborah has changed a little bit with the pandemic and no travel. Uh, I assumed she did travel a bit for Microsoft, but now we've all been mostly at home. Yeah.


So like, what's that been looking like for you? Uh, 2020 and like, what are things that have been successful? I mean, God, I miss the travel. I'm not going to lie. I miss, I miss mostly seeing people in person. Um, it was, it was great to go to other places, but I just miss seeing people in person. But yeah, no, I mean, that's a huge thing.


We all had to become users, right? Like that was the thing we all had to be comfortable with stars. We all have to become YouTubers. And even someone like me who had experienced, you know, filming videos prior to the pandemic, having to do everything. That was kind of a big, a big thing, you know, having to get my camera set up and whatnot.


And, um, I think the things that work are probably the things that we hear from a lot of people, consistency, you know, like you're doing this every week and, and you're, um, you know, uh, keeping a consistent, uh, thing up. And I think that that's probably one of the things that was reaffirmed to me because we got kind of out of the.


Uh, consistency with one of the shows that I was doing for awhile. Now we've started up again under our new name. It's been more consistent, but I was working on some other projects that were time. Like, it'll start slow, but being consistent with, with having them or, or, you know, publishing content, whether it's video or otherwise.


That was probably one of the biggest takeaways I took, but also, you know, trying to think about, okay, creating video content, you have to think at least the way I think about it. Like you need to be very platform. Um, I guess a con you need to be aware of what platform you're on, right? Like, uh, content that I would create for tech talk and I'm not, but if I were creating content for Tik, TOK is going to be very different.


Then content that I would create for YouTube, which is going to be great for Twitter, which, uh, you know, it might be different than if I were going to post even a video on Instagram. Like all those, all those platforms have some different personalities. And I think understanding that, understanding that what you do on a prerecorded kind of edited YouTube video is not the same as what you do in a live stream.


And that the two can't necessarily. You know, in some cases you might be able to repurpose those, those live streams as, as a pure video. And it'll be great. But in other cases it might be a little bit different and just being aware of those nuances. Um, and, uh, I think being aware of what the advantages are inherent to this platform.


So you can take advantage. Of them and, and, you know, uh, optimize, I guess that's the better word optimize for those platforms. That's, that's been a really interesting kind of learning, uh, journey, I think for me. Um, and for other people I've talked to too, I'd be interested in your take on that, but that's the thing that I'm always like, trying to kind of learn from is okay.


What's, what's the, what's the thing that works best for, for this particular platform and how can I optimize what I'm doing or who I'm working with so that we can get the most. Yeah. I mean, my, my answer to that is this experimentation and also limiting the experimentation. Yeah, unboxing it. So like I talked to a very successful, uh, dev REL team on Tik TOK, which I don't wanna expose them.


Cause we had a very, uh, private conversation about this, but they time box or Tik Tik TOK experiments to only 12 weeks. So at the end of 12 weeks, they would then take stock of what happened. Was it successful? And like they walked away with 80,000 followers or subscribers on Dictaphone. So to them that was successful.


But because they actually like, we're focused on the goal at hand. Um, and then on that same, same note, like my tech talk experience has always been experiments. Uh, this sort of see what's happening. My goal was to get a thousand followers on Tik TOK, which I did quite a few months ago. And then I started to stopped doing Tik TOK because I haven't had like a real goal.


And my goal was not to become some sort of technical influencer, but like, what I like is the experimentation. So like my YouTube journey. I just need to get better at doing conference talks, uh, remotely, because I was never good in front of camera, in my office. I, I, I come alive on stage and I never came alive in my own office in front of, uh, I think he see nine 20 or whatever.


So the YouTube channel became my way to increase my at-bats at doing, talking in front of a camera and a microphone alone. And, um, so once I did that, I was successful at that, but I haven't been consistent with uploading. Now at this point, I'm looking at scale, um, for either forget hub and for my personal stuff.


Like how can I scale this? It feeling like it takes so much time to edit this stuff. Right. I mean, that is a challenge. Scaling is a challenge. And I think this is something that if you talk to creators, uh, who focused on other areas, like that's something they run into as well, you know, like, like becomes a grind.


Um, but I love that. I love, I love that you were, you, you had a purpose, you wanted to be better at giving pre-record. So you used it for that purpose. And I love. The Tik TOK and the experimentation. I also love hearing about that, that team, that like they had a 12 week old, I think that's actually great.


And I think that experimentation is awesome and it's really important, but I think that's actually a really good point. I think that, uh, and I know this even, you know, Mashable, one of the things we were. And I've actually taken a lot of lessons from this as Mashable back in the day. You know, I can't speak for how it is now.


A company has been sold and it's a very different place, but we were early, early adopters. Like one of the reasons the site got as big as it was, is because when the suggested user list came out, I think in, you know, 2008 or 2009, um, Nashville was on it. And so. We had, you know, more than a million Twitter followers.


I think when I joined the cause of nine, which was back then a really big deal. And, um, we had, um, we were, you know, fairly early on Facebook and we were early on Pinterest and we were really early on buying back when that was a thing. And we rip exactly we had, we had, we had a team of people who had Pinterest, like we really would experiment.


We were on Google plus, uh, there was a rip. Both w what were the two lights, racers and there's Periscope. And what was the other one? Um, in mere cat. Yeah, we would do both, like, I would do live streams where I had two phones, like one running each app, you know, in kind of on a selfie stick, you know, me going around the office and I would be doing live streams.


And then we had Facebook live partnerships. Like we were on all those platforms. And our goal, especially in the early days was we want it to be kind of the experts at how to use those platforms. And that was a great experience. Coming to now with Deborah, because I got to kind of experience like what it was like, what things would work, what wouldn't to experiment with things, but also not to be afraid of just like jumping in and if it works great, if it doesn't that's okay too, you're going to get lessons from it.


Right. But I do feel like experience is really, but I really like what you were mentioning that team having kind of a set period of time. Okay. We're going to do it 12 weeks and then take our learnings from that. I think that that having limits on that, um, is, is probably a good thing. Yeah. The one thing that came to me too, as well, during 2020, we were doing these experiments, um, is what we're still doing the experiments, but.


When someone approached me about Tik TOK, uh, and whether or not get help should be on like internally, we had a conversation, whether it get ups should be on Tik TOK, um, and was like, no, like there's nothing there for us. There's just a bunch of riff-raff and dancing. And I have fun there, but like, I don't want to bring work to where I have fun.


And then after actually dug into that, cause actually I felt like, I felt like I had made, I gave the wrong answer and that meeting so that I did all the research. And when I came back, I was like, oh, you know what? I was 100% wrong. Uh, this is actually worth trying. And, uh, they're here, like the three accounts I would, will follow today, uh, to be inspired, hard to steal from.


No, I think that's so true because we had some similar conversations, you know, at Microsoft and some of the, some of the accounts have done things. And my always like, do I think we should be on it? Probably we need to do it the right way. We need to have the right. We need to not be cringe if possible. Do I personally want to be on it?


I don't know. I have the bandwidth. Right. I think that's a thing you need to know too is like how much bandwidth do you personally have to be on all these things? And for me it was, you know, it was like, I really like to consume it, but do I have what I brought up with the band, but then to, into some other things.


And so for me, I was doing more streaming rather than ticked off, but I agree with you, right? Like it is one of those things where yeah. Yeah. Your first impulse might be, no, I don't want, I don't want, need to be on this platform. It's not going to do anything. But then if you dive into it, you know, I mean the, the most famous example people use all the time as is, you know, the, the check who's, the Microsoft Excel influencer, who's making over a million dollars a year, which is awesome.


She's selling her consulting business. She's selling her classes. She is bad-ass, I, she is incredible. Um, and, and there are other people who, you know, have, have even left their jobs in big tech to become YouTubers. Now, obviously not everyone can do that. Um, and I'm not saying everyone should do that, but I feel like that shows that there can be an.


For that type of content, that is not just what you would associate with a platform. You just need to, you know, find your way into it. And, and that's where experimenting can work. And you can also figure out, uh, you know, is the best in, in doing, or am I maybe better skilled at doing something else? Because we would do that at Mashable as well.


We would, we would get on the different networks as soon as they would start. And it was the ones that we could feel like we could make an impact on that we would, you know, kind of stick with. Um, but, uh, You know, one of our, at least back in the day, you know, one of our creatives, we were always going to be some of the first people on that stuff.


Um, but the second part of abs, okay. Not just beyond it, you need to figure out how can I use this authentically. And, um, I take from that to Deborah, because I think you'll agree with me when I say this is that authenticity is so important in what we. Because developers, I always say, as developers, we can smell bullshit a mile away and nobody wants to be bullshitted to, oh, uh, I hope that it's okay if I, if I cursed on your podcast, I hope you don't have to edit that too much.


Um, uh, but you know, and we want to have these authentic conversations with people. We want to have these authentic experiences because, uh, and that's the thing I think you can, if you over-optimize too much, for some of those platforms, you can lose some of that and it can maybe. Not be as good, but I think when you, when you can find that balance of how someone, how you can authentically reach people and authentically, you know, beyond those platforms, it can work really, really well.


And you can, you can reach people and you can create different content types that, you know, has there's an audience for it, but you might not have even anticipated. Yeah. And I've, I've done, I've got a list of like ideas, how to leverage some of the, I guess, new media or these new, these new platforms. Um, but time and bandwidth is always the issue.


It's I guidance. If I invest in shipping this thing, I've got to have like six of these videos done right away. They can the strip through, and then we can basically look and see if it works out. Or if not, like sit on it until like, I can convince someone else to do it. Nah. I mean, I think that's where sometimes the experimentation can be useful just to, you know, um, and it gets hard because people are gonna want over what, how does this, you know, crude my KPI or this or that.


And I was like, okay, well sometimes you just have to have a gut instinct for things. Um, you know, uh, you talked about scale earlier and that is the difficult thing. You know, time is the one thing we can't really scale and, um, content, whether you're. You know, documentation or how to videos or a tutorial, you know, whatever the case may be, or you're writing an article.


That's the one thing that, that we can't eat. You can't turn it into a factory and as much as people try. And I think when people try to over automate that process, I think that's when, uh, people, uh, hit road blocks. Uh, it starts to show when the sale's a little, like less authentic and more of like they're checking a box to get something shipped.


Yep. So, and sorry. No, I was just agreeing. Yeah, I was just going to add I'm on the same topic. I was curious about it. Cause I know, um, I know you consume take stock from our conversation. There's like a very. Yeah, there's I, I don't wanna out any specific teams or any sort of brands that are out there, but like there's a difference between creating trends and falling.


Yeah. And, um, I'm curious, even with your background in the journalism side, cause I know like, so like we're, we're basically the same age. You mentioned your, your, um, when you graduated, I graduated the year after. Um, so like I consumed all these sort of these, these media properties that you had mentioned, and there's one thing that came up, uh, with full stay, uh, Every company needed to have an April full state joke and bended their content.


And then also journalism as well. Would this do like, sort of like round up from all these, uh, to basically all these brands that you'd say for full-time. I feel like Tik TOK is D there's. There's a bit of that happening on Tik TOK. Uh, and there's some other properties. Oh, totally. Yeah. People have to trends, you know, you'll see somebody who, you know, saw certain songs, you know, catch on.


Everybody wants to do, you know, being the song, you know, do, do the dances. Do do the, there, there are certain motifs we'll use you're dead on God, April fools. They got to the point, I think by the time I left media, that the sites that I worked for, we were like, okay, we're not going to cut. And I have your April full stuff, unless it's actually really funny, even then we might not because it had just gotten like, so over the top of the ridiculous, like.


We match we'll partner with, with Conan O'Brien one year. And he pretended that he bought Mashable and did a whole thing. Um, I still think that my original idea, cause we, we were, we pitched a couple of different things with agencies and my original idea is because we wanted to do a thing with Shaquille O'Neal and this was, this was before I should add, this was several years before they actually did this for real, but I wanted the April fool's joke to be that, uh, we, we were, uh, bringing back shack.


The the, the greatest slash worst video game of all time. Um, and, uh, the marketing people just didn't understand it and didn't understand that the internet literally would've lost its would have gone crazy. It would have been massive. Um, so, so we did the thing with Conan O'Brien and said, which. But, you know, these are just becomes branded.


It comes co-opted. And like you said, people just kind of following trends. And so I do see that with, with tech talk where people will kind of, you know, you, you do, you have the people who create the stuff and you have the people who pick it up and there's nothing wrong with following stuff. But, uh, it, there used to be this, I think it still exists, but there was this, a famous Twitter account of brands saying they, um, that would make fun of, you know, the way that that brands speak on Twitter kind of became.


Uh, a certain thing and you can see that happening with tick talk a little bit. And I, and I feel like, okay, you know, um, and, and I say this with, with nothing but love and respect for my, for my brand friends. Um, I've because I know I have a lot of friends who work in that side, but like, this is when sometimes I roll my eyes.


I'm like, okay, this is when the brands do kind of ruin everything because you can go too far. Right? Like there's a way of being funny and sardonic and on it. And like self-aware and like, kind of. And being really clever. And then there's a way of just like going leaning way too in on that, because you had a little bit of success and then it just becomes current.


Yeah. And the cringe too, as well. It comes with a cause I feel like the, I operate in some spaces within Twitter, which they call black Twitter. And a lot of the, these like culture speak come from, uh, and it gets adopted by gen Z and et cetera, et cetera. And like, we can, we can sort of dissect this to the nth degree or whatnot, but like I had a, a friend who was actually just got funded for a startup in, in his marketing content.


It said. It's like a bunch of bullet points and what if it was like, do it for the culture. Um, and I asked him to remove that and he ended up doing it. Um, but I feel like sometimes we can feel a little too ambitious with like steering into what's the hot speaker or the bass speak, I guess. Um, and that's when we started to have to take a step back and be like, Hey, what, what is the actual goal here?


Like, is it. To accomplish something or are we just like just throwing stuff out there, right? No, totally. And, and, and if your goal is like, do I, do I want engagement? Do I want with this or that? Okay, well maybe you can get some of that by acting that way, but what are you trying to, what are you trying to promote and what audience are you going after too?


Because I think that's the thing too. Um, That your friend, you know, took your advice and remove something like that because, and we could have a whole discussion about how much stuff has been co-opted from, from black Twitter, um, just in internet culture in general. Um, but I think it's important to, um, yeah.


And like you said, to kind of know what your goals are and to also know who you're talking to and, and to know like, Because sometimes the audience of people that might respond to your funny tweet or, or your video thing, they might not be your customers and, and they might not be your audience. And so, um, you have, you have to think a lot about that, right?


Like is, is, is getting the, um, engagement worth it. If it doesn't lead anywhere, right? Like. Uh, I feel like you can also, you can be respectful of the, of the kind of content you're doing and you can be talking authentically, you know, with those audiences without. It may be sometimes seeping into, into caricature, uh, which can be easy.


And, and, and that line can be hard to cross. I don't know for me too, like, uh, when we were, this was when we were doing build of 20, 20, we were looking at trying to do some tick-tock stuff around it. And, and, um, I don't know if we want to doing this or not, but like my initial advice was we shouldn't be the ones who are doing this.


Let's just hire some of the actual cool. Code or, you know, developer tech talkers, maybe to do some content. And I think that's something that people oftentimes, you know, the sake to. Um, I always think about this when, when, um, we're creating content, um, and, and where you can go for our users. It's like, are we the ones who need to be speaking?


Are we the ones who need to have the voice out there? Or are there other people in our community who we might be able to promote or, um, uh, lift up and maybe sometimes, especially for these different platforms, you know, maybe I'm not the right person on that platform. Um, speaking to that generation, if it is a generational thing, right?


Like maybe it should be something. Um, from that, um, you know, uh, group who knows it more, um, because that's going to be more authentic and they're going to have a much better connection with that audience than you know me. Uh, hello, fellow kids on Tik TOK. Yeah. And I could be, you could even sit like generational or even like a programming language, uh, Morse, whatnot, say communities are so different, right?


Like, like what one community, even with an open source, you know, what, like what, what one community, how they work and how another community does are very, very different things. Right. I think that's really important. Like I see Tierney is chat and like he, uh, they are the person that I would go to 100% for anything around, you know, JavaScript and, uh, uh, but I wouldn't pretend to want to speak to that community.


I mean, just the same thing about like giving a talk to it, to an audience, right? Like if I'm not part of, like, if you are having me give a general talk and it's an audience that I'm not really familiar with, I'm happy to do that, but I'm not going to speak about something that is like native to them. And it's like an important thing to them.


If I don't have experience with it, because as I said before, the developers can spell BS a mile away and, and you need to know the rules within those communities and the rules within, you know, the, not even so much the rules, but I guess the, um, you know, just, just like the, the way things work. Yeah. Yeah.


Like the general best practices. I got a tweet at being yesterday. Cause I've maintained a good ignore project. I'll get up. And uh, so my name's all over the place and someone had a Python space example question that I had no context at all. Cause I, my Python is a simply copy and paste from stack overflow.


Like I'm just shout it out of myself. That's that's like, My good Python code. So I couldn't make a definitive statement on Twitter about the thing that they were working on, which was, um, I think some sort of machine learning thing, which is, again, another thing I'm not even familiar with. So I pointed them directly to the forum and was like, start here, ask your question there.


So I was able to be helpful, but I was not going to put myself in the place that I was going to make statements that were going to be copying papers. Hundreds of GitHub issues saying that says, this is the way it should be. Okay. Totally. Totally. Yeah. You're like, look, I can help. I mean, that's the thing. I always say people come to me about, like, if I don't know, I'm like, I, I probably, I might, I know I will try to find out.


Um, and I will try to like uplift the person who does have the right answer. Right. Yeah, I think that's the one thing that as you were talking to, actually, when you were answering the previous question, uh, the one thing I always stand by is as a developer advocate is like my number one job is to create other advocates.


So if I can get someone else on stage talking on my behalf or on behalf of GitHub or whatever it is, like, I want that person to be up there. And, uh, absolutely. Yeah. No, I totally agree with that. I feel like a lot of times, and that is, I think, you know, a lot of us are developer advocates because we do like to speak in public and we like to be around people and we like to create, and, and we like to share and we like to help.


Um, but a lot of that sometimes too, you know, listening is just as important part of that. Um, and uh, also like knowing, Hey, if I meet somebody who's really good at something, like I would love to platform them and, and, and have that person speak, like you said, I love that. I love that you were always looking to create.


Advocates. That's awesome.


All right. You also, if you enjoyed that conversation, if you've learned a thing, I would really appreciate it. If you went over the underscored girl, uh, they'll also be in the show notes, but yeah. Shout out to Christina for coming onto this podcast. It's a little operation. I have a, this has been something I've been doing for man eight years now off, and it's always an honor just to meet other folks in the space, figure out their backgrounds, because I think at the end of the day, when you learned about folks' story, Uh, it sets a pathway for, for other folks to, to learn.


And that's exactly what I did. So again, if y'all are just got a new job, or if you want to talk about what you do in tech, uh, developer relations as engineers, uh, hit me up . And then of course, if you want to participate in the Twitter spaces, we'll be hosting them every Wednesday at lunchtime Pacific and, uh, Yeah.


Always looking for guests. All right. Y'all stay saucy. .