September 20, 2019
Alison Buchanan, a Master’s student in HCDE, is wrapping up a summer Internship on the user research team at Twitter.
Buchanan recently used a Twitter takeover of the @TwitterResearch handle to walk us through a day-in-the-life of a Twitter intern, or ‘Tern.’
Hi, I’m Alison! I'm a master’s student studying @hcdeUW. I’m interning with the user research team for the summer and excited to take over the @TwitterResearch handle today to show you the life of a user research intern! pic.twitter.com/zeK00dRZwy— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
It’s Friday (woop woop!) which means I'm on my way to attend our weekly research crit session. Researchers share their research plans/ideas to get constructive feedback from the team.— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
Buchanan knew she wanted to work for Twitter, and said she found the internship opportunity through their website. “I’ve always been interested in free speech,” she described. “Twitter provides people with a voice to express themselves and engage in global conversations. I wanted to do research to help further that mission.”
I ❤️ research crit! It’s a great way to learn what other people are working on, connect with my coworkers, and think about how I might improve my own research practice. Today we heard from @morganblocky — one of our researchers in NYC. pic.twitter.com/sXF8mnBzUU— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
This summer, my research was focused on conversation starters on Twitter. My presentation looks at what motivates people to bring links and screenshots to Twitter — are people trying to start conversations this way? pic.twitter.com/ROBp0Pd6ey— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
Buchanan’s internship project explored ways people might start conversations on Twitter. “My team thought that perhaps people bring links and screenshots to Twitter to do this,” she described. “I conducted qualitative interviews with Twitter users to figure out ‘why’ behind this kind of sharing behavior. The results of this study led to me planning a second qualitative study, which will dig into an area that seemed like it could be worth pursuing.”
Now that my presentation is done, it’s time to think about how my research might inform other research studies at Twitter. I’m working on drafting another research plan for the team to consider.— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
Buchanan said her HCDE coursework in Qualitative Research Methods (HCDE 519) was particularly helpful for her to know how to plan out the research project.
I meet with my mentors, @codyelam and @danielmchdo, on Fridays for a weekly check-in. From showing me how to use Google Sheets (yikes) to advising me on how to best present my results, these two have have taught me so much this summer! pic.twitter.com/eSLhyKex84— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
I’m all done with meetings for the day, so I’m getting some work done at @tweepscaffeine. I like working close to the love of my life (☕️) and find I focus better when there is a little background noise going on. pic.twitter.com/NHz0a247sW— Twitter Research (@TwitterResearch) September 6, 2019
Buchanan had many highlights during her summer at Twitter, but she said one top moment was working with the other design and research interns to help lead a design workshop for Girls Who Code. "I had a lot of fun adding in research specific material to the curriculum," she said.
Buchanan said she is looking forward to returning to HCDE this autumn, catching up up with her fellow classmates, and welcoming the new cohort of students.