Jordan David is a web producer for The Onion and will be part of a panel discussion at SND Louisville. I caught up with David at Chicago’s Long Room, where we discussed social media strategies and his upcoming presentation. Here is an edited transcript:
Kenney Marlatt: Let’s start with the question on everybody’s mind. How do you get hired at The Onion?
Jordan David: Well, being hired as a comedian at The Onion is usually at the end of a path unique to them. It’s a mishmash of former interns, fellows, people from in and outside of media, the works. Beyond that, if you are a member of the marketing team or product team, then it’s a little bit more open. I think I found this job on LinkedIn, so it’s open just like any other place.
KM: What do you think makes a good Twitter feed and what do you think people should avoid?
JD: A good Twitter feed is human more than anything. The secret with ours is obviously the humor. That’s obviously ingredient No. 1. But that can apply to other people as well. It’s not necessarily an option for more traditional media outlets to speak in the voice that we do. But you’ve definitely seen people move that way … speaking in a more human rather than an automaton kind of tone. If you can speak in a human voice, I think that’s what gets people’s attention.
KM: Do you guys approach Twitter differently than you approach Facebook or is it sort of the same language?
JD: Strategically, we definitely approach Twitter differently than Facebook. Facebook is far more important to our overall traffic. Facebook brings a lot more traffic and, as a result, we kind of see Twitter as more of a testing ground. If we post something to Twitter and it does not do particularly well — if it doesn’t reach certain metrics that I expected it to meet — then it will never see Facebook. I might then try again and vary the presentation. Then, whatever performs best I’ll use on Facebook. It’s kind of a bastardized form of A/B testing.
KM: Are you excited for SND Louisville?
JD: I’m extremely excited for SND Louisville. I think it will be fun.
KM: How do you respond to critics who say that your plan to leave as soon as your session is over is an odd way of showing that excitement?
JD: If I can speak for myself, I will be heading to a wedding immediately after our presentation. My colleagues, however are just big d***s. They will be leaving because they have no regard for anybody in this community.
KM: I appreciate your candor. What advice do you have for designers thinking about shifting their careers from print to digital?
JD: Speaking from my own experience I’d recommend that they get forced to do so. I feel like journalists are well suited to adapting to new kinds of work. They are generally inquisitive people so I don’t think they will be lost in a digital world.
KM: Q&A interviews. A lazy form of journalism or the laziest?