A Mommy Blogger, Drag Queen, and Editor Walk into a Bar

Media Thumbnail
  • 0.5
  • 1
  • 1.25
  • 1.5
  • 1.75
  • 2
This is a podcast episode titled, A Mommy Blogger, Drag Queen, and Editor Walk into a Bar. The summary for this episode is: Host Zachary Ballenger interviews Joe Wadlington, Global Creative Lead at Twitter, about etiquette and editing. We're reminded that storytelling IS the job. And we hear what you wanted to be when you grew up.
Wtf is modern etiquette?
02:26 MIN
How did a caret catapult a career?
02:20 MIN
Storytelling is our job.
00:55 MIN

Zachary Ballenger: Today, we're talking to Joe Wadlington of Twitter about etiquette, his time as a drag queen, and how a carrot kickstarted his career. We're being reminded of the importance of storytelling in marketing, we're finding out what you wanted to be when you grew up. I'm Zachary Ballenger and this The Tic. All right, today I have with me Joe Wadlington of Twitter. Joe, it is great to have you here.

Joe Wadlington: Hi, Zachary. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Zachary Ballenger: Absolutely. You have one of the most fun journeys to where you got that involves a lot of different cities and a lot of different career path choices. The most interesting Twitter timeline I've seen of any of our guests, and I highly recommend people check it out. The question I'd like to lead with is where are you from and where are you now?

Joe Wadlington: So I am from the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, and I grew up steeped in storytelling culture. So I'm a writer, I've been a writer my entire life. And that came from going to church three times a week and sitting on a whole lot of porches listening to people lie about what they were up to early that afternoon. I majored in creative writing when I went to Butler University in Indiana. So when I was 18, I moved eight hours away. I did not know anyone in the Midwest, but very quickly I knew a lot of people in the Midwest and I majored in writing and that's what I finished my degree in. And I have had writing jobs my entire life. So it's kind of funny that when I think of all the folks who had" more practical majors" or majors where there seemed to be a more tangible job at the end of it, almost none of them are doing something now that applies to exactly what they studied, which I think is just a proclamation for a liberal arts education, where you learn to think critically more than you learn a specific subject matter, because we're all going to jump around. But I have always been writing. And now I live in San Francisco, I've been here for eight years. I'm the global creative lead at Twitter, so I'm effectively a creative director for the business team. I have a monthly etiquette column in Architectural Digest. I host a reading series in San Francisco. I have been published in The New Yorker and Rice and Food& Wine Magazine. I am a drag queen, so storytelling is just a part of my DNA and something I get to use in my professional life and my personal life. And also, just with anyone I pass on the sidewalk really can get sucked in, unfortunately.

Zachary Ballenger: I mean, before we even go into any other planned questions, I have so many more on that. So you've written a column on etiquette. Is this formal etiquette? Is this like going back to like, your knife should always be on the left and facing in, or is this a different form of etiquette?

Joe Wadlington: So, it's modern etiquette. I grew up in a household with quite a bit of knives being in their correct situation. When I come home, my mom actually collects silverware, and so when I come home, she opens the odd silverware drawer and starts quizzing me and I have to... And she pulls one out and I'm like," That's the grapefruit spoon." She pulls out another, I'm like,"That's a bonbon spoon." She pulls out another, I'm like," That is a chilled salad fork," and she's like," Actually, it's an olive fork. You haven't been home in a while, Joe." As you can see, not a disappointment, but she wishes I was better. And so I grew up with knowing how to politely go about any dish that could come across a table, how to go through any awkward conversation that someone could inject into a dinner party. But then we grow up and now there are all types of technology and social situations that our parents never could have prepared us for. I got ghosted two weeks ago. What do I do with that? What do you do if there is a really close friend that you realized is actually pretty toxic and you want to turn that into an acquaintance relationship and not a friend relationship? What do you do with text etiquette with wedding invites for a couple that's been living together for 10 years and they're getting married at City Hall? There's all these things that modernly are super common and we're dealing with all the time and no matter how much etiquette you had growing up, it did not even touch those things. So that's what my column is about. It's called Polite Company and I am your modern etiquette guide to figure out all the things about texting, Zoom meetings, work from home, dating, those types of things. So if anyone wants to ask me a question, they can do so on the link in my Twitter bio, Architectural Digest, Polite Company. But yeah, that's what's it's about. I think with technology, there has never been more ways to make a social transgression and we've never had never been like more ill- equipped.

Zachary Ballenger: Yeah, 100%. So I'm going to put you in a scenario and I want to hear your advice here. And we'll post the link below and the related resources so people can get to your column from there. But let's say we're at a dinner party and it's not formal, it's just casual friend dinner party. How much does the etiquette change? And you mentioned that you are a drag queen, so I want to know, does the etiquette change when you are you and your drag friends are in drag at their party or versus out of drag or just with other friends that necessarily aren't? Is there a big gap in the change there?

Joe Wadlington: Etiquette is all about making people comfortable, and I think that's what gets lost because it's definitely used as a weapon socioeconomically for people to punch down against others who were maybe not brought up where etiquette was or could be a focus of the home. But the DNA of etiquette is to teach someone a bunch of different skills so that no matter what environment they go into, they are fully prepared and they feel comfortable and they're not offending anyone and they can have a good time. And so keeping that in mind with this idea of having a good time, not offending anyone, I would say the etiquette rules are totally on. I would say if you're surrounded by a lot of incredible drag performance, then you would definitely want to volunteer your pronouns, know what other people's pronouns are as well. I would say you're just going to want to sit and watch because you have a show going on. My drag mom is Rock M. Sakura. She's on the most recent season of RuPaul's Drag Race. And sometimes when we're getting ready, I'll be like," Oh, do you want me to record, take a video of your process?" And she's like," No, as soon as that camera turns on, I hit Muppet mode and it's over. We're going to be four hours late instead of just two." So yeah, just sit back and enjoy the show, I would say.

Zachary Ballenger: That's great. That's great. All right, so let's go back-

Joe Wadlington: And bring a bottle of rosé.

Zachary Ballenger: Of course. That's etiquette for everything. Any situation, even breaking up with that friend that needs to be an acquaintance, you still got to bring the rosé.

Joe Wadlington: Uh- huh( affirmative), it's always going to get you a little bit ahead, that's for sure.

Zachary Ballenger: So let's go back to Indiana where you went to Butler where I reside. I love Indianapolis and I hope that I never have to leave. Love it to death. But you went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and you were an intern there for a short period of time. Tell me about that. I think that that's your first real step outside of college and I'm so curious on what drew you to that internship and then what you learned from it.

Joe Wadlington: It was an incredible internship. I love the Indianapolis Museum of Art. And at that time it was free admission. And I think as a cultural institution, if your goal is truly to bring culture to the community, then being free is the way that you really show that you're true to that. And so I was so proud to work at a cultural institution that was free for people, that was expansive. I mean, that year we had opened up the 100 acres, so not only was it this massive building filled with centuries worth of art, but we also had hundreds of acres of an art garden that was open to the public and botanical garden space that was just enjoyable to be around all year too. And those [inaudible 00:09:07], I mean, you know they will trump out in the middle of the snow to have a picnic and pretend like it's not too below. So I was really surprised and a bit concerned with how around the year it was enjoyed by people. And at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I began developing a skillset that is actually very similar to some of the technical writing that I have to do now. My project throughout the semester, which I pitched to them and was accepted was basically Intern Joe Explains Art To You. And my whole idea is that art is something that is for absolutely everyone and so many people get turned away because it feels too academic or it can make them feel stupid, it can make them feel like they don't read enough or know enough. If they look at a piece of art and it's just purely not for them, they don't like it, they feel like either they are dumb or art is dumb. They [inaudible 00: 10:09]. As opposed to the exciting thing where there are people who have the background, have the degrees, and they're looking at the same piece as you and they also think it's stupid, and they would love to have the exact same conversation. So I did a blog series where I interviewed curators, I interviewed museum staff, I interviewed artists. I interviewed just people at the museum talking about new exhibitions and it was extremely approachable. So I got to talk to the lighting designer behind the museum and how she designs these... At that time, we had Thornton Dial who's a multimedia assemblage sculptor from the South. And so his pieces are huge and they have, as he said, they cast shadows on themselves, very difficult to light. And getting to see everything she thinks about, and it just gave all the steps to when you're in the museum and all the exciting things that are going on behind the scenes. And it's not dissimilar from technical writing. When I'm trying to explain a product for Twitter, when I'm trying to explain the auction based bidding system for Twitter ads, it's complex and it's something that could make people feel like they can't handle it. When I know my audience, so my team was focused on small businesses and new advertisers. So you could have a huge budget but you've never advertised on Twitter before. These are folks who absolutely can advertise on Twitter, they can find extremely impactful ways to use Twitter to benefit their business but they may not think that at first, and we need to write copy that lets them know that they can absolutely handle it and Twitter is for them. It's not that different from me writing a blog article about some super abstract modern sculpture that just looks like a pile of rocks and letting people know that they too can look at this and whatever they're thinking or whatever comes to mind is so valid and they are a part of the museum community too.

Zachary Ballenger: I love that. What was your favorite piece of art to explain? What was the story that you crafted that was most fun?

Joe Wadlington: I love installation pieces. Not that I need rewards for going to museum. Museums are one of my absolute favorite places to be. When I travel, it's museums and cafes. Museums and cafe is where I spend my time. And installation pieces, while I've seen the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, seeing it in person is a different experience than seeing a picture of it online. But even if I had not seen it in person, I have seen so many images of the Mona Lisa. So I still get some degree of the impression as to that piece of art. Whereas installation pieces, where it's something that you walk inside, they have sound, they have smells, there is a 360 degrees feeling that the art is providing and you have to be inside of it to really experience all of it. And so those are the ones where when I go to a museum I feel like I'm getting the most reward for going to museums because they can't possibly be consumed just from an online perspective. And there is this one piece by... oh, gosh, her last name that starts with an S, Julie... I'm not remembering right now, but it was an installation of speakers overhead. And you would basically navigate this piece by just walking under it. And she interviewed around 50 people who she had to speak into a microphone as if they were whispering into the ear of someone they care about. So it's a very soft, it's a very soothing exhibition. And it's just this big room with all of these speakers hanging overhead and you navigate it by walking under certain ones. And some were a little louder, some were very quiet. You could just barely catch every single little bit that someone was saying. And it felt at first really creepy and scary, it sounds like a haunted room. But then when you would pause under a speaker, you would hear someone talking about how much they loved you. And so it was such a cool experience from being one room away and hearing these odd noises that kind of draw you in and kind of creep you out, and then actually spending time in it and finding that speaker that happened to say something very sweet at the exact moment you walked under it. And everybody in the room is getting a different experience because they're under different speakers with different times. So I loved that exhibition and installation art is definitely what I am drawn to the most.

Zachary Ballenger: Well, that is great because we... I don't think that I would be drawn to installation art. It's one of those things where you kind of take a peek and you walk away and you go look at all the paintings that people tell you to look at, the ones that you have to see. So that's a... You're going to give me a new way to do some museums here.

Joe Wadlington: Yeah. A lot of it isn't pretty, and I think that that's what people come into the museum thinking, is that they're just going to, like," I will look at 30 pretty things and then I'm out of here." And so it can be something that is unexpected, but whenever you are engaging with a cultural institution, if they are at their best, they are putting things you did not expect, or you wouldn't have found yourself right in front of you and making them palpable so that you can really get something out of it. So I would absolutely encourage anyone find that ugly ass looking, weird installation thing the next time you go and just get a coffee in the museum cafe and then give it a few minutes. And if you still hate it, that is awesome. Now you have a formed artistic opinion that you can loudly complain in your next dinner party.

Zachary Ballenger: With proper etiquette.

Joe Wadlington: With proper etiquette.

Zachary Ballenger: Make sure the artist isn't there.

Joe Wadlington: Yeah.

Zachary Ballenger: Okay, so from internship, we're diving into the career now, right? You went to Slingshot. What did you do there? And then after Slingshot had sort of, pun intended, slingshoted you over to San Francisco. So I'm curious how and what happened.

Joe Wadlington: Yeah, so Slingshot was my first full- time job outside of college. And Slingshot was a search engine optimization firm and I was an SEO editor. So I wrote four to six blog articles a day as a mommy blogger. So we realized that we had clients such as Sears, we had Blue Nile, we had [ Kenga 00:16:58], which a lot of their keywords are things like treadmill, coupons, discounts, frontloading washing machine, work binge was a big one for some reason. And so when you are creating brand new content with these keywords could be gracefully hidden inside of, a lot of them were lifestyle content, lifestyle topics, if you're doing things like birdhouse and treadmill and elliptical. And so we got to a point where we were publishing... Sears was one of our biggest clients, so we are publishing so many lifestyle focused articles, we needed dedicated mommy bloggers. And for whatever reason, the managing team looked at me and said," Ah yes, this 22- year- old gay male, that's our mommy blogger, for sure."

Zachary Ballenger: "He's so maternal."

It's so maternal, very embarrassing and confusing for me when there was actual moms on the team who I'm being picked over or something like that. I don't really know. But that was a really wonderful job for me because, one, it was a writing job outside of... My first one out of college was a writing job. My degree was in writing and I think that was definitely a vote of competence that I really needed as a new grad to know that this was something I could spend my entire life doing, because I was going to do it any. So it was good that I had it worked out quickly. And then I was at Slingshot for a year, for four to six blog articles a day. I mean, I made hundreds, hundreds of pieces of content, and that was so valuable. And the content was not great. It was definitely quantity over quality. But at that stage of my career, and by that, I mean, first stage, it was just so valuable to do a whole lot of writing. And I love Indianapolis as well and I'd hit that place having being there for five years, I knew it was time for something new and I wanted to leave exactly when I loved Indianapolis the most. So I started thinking about California. I had lived in the South, I lived in the Midwest and I wanted something entirely new. And California is definitely a place where when people say it, you can hear like there's like a gold lining to it. It's got great PR, it seems like a land of promise, that type of thing. And Slingshot had been a startup and I knew there were a lot of startups out there and I didn't want to drive a car anymore and I wanted... I'd only lived in moderate cities so I thought it'd be interesting to live in a progressive place. I love recycling. And some all very medium strength reasons I wanted to live in San Francisco, but enough when I was 22, that it totally made sense. And then I got fired from Slingshot and that was like," Oh, okay. Well, that was the last thing." I had already been... I was a terrible employee at that point. I'd already been interviewing for other jobs. I would leave at my lunch break and say," Going to lunch," and then do two interviews in my car and then come back and eat lunch at my desk. And I was pretty obviously checked out. And luckily, so I got fired from Slingshot, and then luckily, a week later I got an offer for a job in San Francisco. So I was already far enough along and I had already moved out of my Indianapolis apartment, put my Salvation Army armchair on the street and gone back to Tennessee for a week to just reorganize my stuff, put some things in storage. And I had already bought the plane ticket so I was coming to San Francisco anyway. And then I was so lucky to actually have a job to get accepted right before. Which, it didn't bother me as much, but I know that it made my parents much more relieved to know that I actually had a job when I landed. So I landed in the city on a Thursday and slept on friend's... a friend of a friend's friend's couch, which also means a stranger. A stranger let me sleep on their couch. Apartments are notoriously difficult to find in San Francisco so you pretty much can't get one unless you work in the city, so you need a place to crash at least so you can do the walkthroughs in person. And then I started my job and this was at a mommy.... It was like Groupon for moms. So I kept my career as a fake internet mom going, and I was writing product descriptions as a mother for things like Brazilian blow- outs and sugar waxing and organic baby toys. And then five weeks in, they laid off half the company, including myself. So I got an exactly two paychecks, which basically paid for my move and then my Ikea bedroom set. So now I was in San Francisco with no job and even less money than before. So I wasn't done with this city yet. I just didn't feel like I had really had my shot, or if I had taken my shot, I definitely hadn't lost. So I just started going to networking events and telling people I was a consultant and an entrepreneur, 23- year- old entrepreneur, yeah. So which now, looking back, in San Francisco, I was not nearly as off as I thought I was being. That's definitely something people love to say about themselves when it just means that they're unemployed in the city. But I designed my own business cards, I had my own website. And my name, so I have a very uncommon last name, which is really wonderful for SEO, my name in my Twitter handle, my Instagram handle, my website, they are all the same, it's just my name, Joe Wadlington. And that name has had a red squiggly underlining in every program since I was born. So I don't really think anything of it when I was designing my business card on Illustrator and printing them out at Kinko's until I was on the bus to a networking event and I realized I had 80 business cards on which my last name was misspelled, which means that my Twitter handle was misspelled, my email was misspelled, my website was misspelled. No one would be able to do this and get into contact with me. They were useless and I'd spent money I did not have on those 80 business cards. I was already on the bus profusely sweating. I'm just sweating profusely and I think,"I am going to figure this out." And I had a Sharpie in my pocket and so when I was networking, I would hand my card to someone and I would do a little caret editing sign and add the "n" that I lost from the middle of my name and say," I'm an editor," and hand them my business card.

Zachary Ballenger: Improvise [ crosstalk 00:24: 08 ]-

Joe Wadlington: Crosstalk over improvised creativity and it stood out. People remembered it, it made it easy to get a conversation going. A lot of networking conversations can be really stiff at first, especially if you're at a networking event where it feels like a lot of people are looking for work and not a lot of people have work to give. And this was pretty close after... This is 2012 so the economy was definitely still recovering and it was definitely unbalanced. But I directly found work through that noticing and took on freelance clients. And eight years later and I've been at Twitter for five years now and the global creative lead and I love my job. It's extremely flexible and uses a lot of my different skillsets. But my business cards are spelled correctly now.

Zachary Ballenger: Thankfully. They finally let you have the N, the [ inaudible 00:00:25:07].

Joe Wadlington: Yeah, thankfully. I had to earn it. I had to earn it and that's fair. And there's a lot of letters in my name so it takes a while to learn.

Zachary Ballenger: Sure. Okay, so you got there, you did some freelancing there and you said you got some work. You went to these networking events. It was great. Is this a standard case of it's all who you know? Is that how you got to Twitter? Or what was the story that got you to maybe one of the largest and most iconic companies right now?

Joe Wadlington: Yeah, that word is used quite a bit and especially, or that phrase of," It's who you know." And I do think that is good networking advice, but that is not the only way to find a job. And coming into San Francisco, there are so many folks who went to Stanford and they are so connected. And these people are not necessarily smarter than you, they are not necessarily more talented than you. And there's definitely some issues with hiring pipelines where you see tech companies where the founders who went to Stanford or Harvard Business School, or MIT are only hiring people who also went to Stanford and Harvard Business School and MIT. And it's not because those places necessarily... It's not because those places have the only good grads, obviously. It's because they're being lazy in their hiring pipeline and they're not looking behind the people who they can just immediately grab. So that can also be advice that really scares people. Because if I looked around at anyone I knew, I didn't know anyone who worked at Google or Twitter, I didn't know anyone who went to an Ivy League school. I had a graduating class of about 650 people and I think only 10 of us went out of state for college. So I didn't come from a place that really spread wide or had extremely ambitious ideas in the industry I wanted to be ambitious. Certainly ambition of all types was represented there, but not in a way where I had someone I could call up and I could just skate in for an interview. But I was meeting people at these networking events and I was having a... I was being myself and sticking out and I was meeting their friends and I was meeting their friends, and through networks of favors and through not being afraid to ask and having a distillation of what I was looking for. I was a writer. I was looking for writing jobs on marketing team. And a lot of new grads, they will say," Oh, I'll do anything." They're like," Oh, I'm interested in design, I'm interested in business development, I'm interested in sales." And I think that's wonderful. But when you go to an event or when you're talking to a specific person, you need to give them the one thing you're looking for, because that's going to set off this synopsis in their head to think," Oh, you want to talk to people who are sales. I have a friend who is a sales manager, let me connect the two of you." So by the time I applied to Twitter, I did have a recommendation. I had met someone in the park that week who said he worked at Twitter and he was a friend of an ex of mine who was in town. And we were hanging out and he's like," Oh, can we hang out with my friend Jared? He's also in the park." And Jared came over and sat on our blanket and Jared worked at Twitter. And there was a job at Twitter I had been looking at just that week but I was so nervous I thought," I can never work at Twitter. I don't have the background. I'm not even going to apply." And then I met Jared and he's like," Oh, I work there are. I'll refer you." And just having that and knowing that I was getting a refer. And the referral's not... He didn't know me. He couldn't write some [ inaudible 00:28: 55 ] recommendations. It's just make it so that there's like a little employee check sticker. I still had to write a cover letter, I still had to do all these things, and definitely got it out of my own talent. But even just having that encouraged me so much to finish the application. And so yes it is who you know, but it's also who you could meet and who your friends know. And it doesn't have to be about pedigree or your background, but rather about who you're going to meet and who you're going to find as opposed to who you were brought up with.

Zachary Ballenger: That's great. I mean, that's great advice. We usually don't do advice segments, but I think we're helping people here left and right.

Joe Wadlington: I'm advice etiquette columnist, I can't help myself.

Zachary Ballenger: Absolutely. Well, Joe, as we wrap up the show, I like to ask two questions to all of our guests, and the first one, and I feel like you've going to have to pull from a wealth of knowledge on this one. But what's a seemingly unrelated experience that's helped you the most in your career?

Joe Wadlington: A seemingly unrelated experience that has helped me the most in my career. So when I went to Butler University and majored in creative writing, and it was a critique based program, so I spent four years in rooms of 10 to 15 people having my writing ripped apart while I sat there silently.

Zachary Ballenger: Fun times.

Joe Wadlington: Traditional critique format means that the person who submitted work sits silently and takes notes. And then everyone who is critiquing speaks as if they are not in the room, and then at the end, you have 10, 15 minutes to ask clarifying questions. You are not supposed to spend that time defending your work and telling people," No, you just didn't get it." And that made me so ready to receive critique. One of my biggest points of pride, and pride is the right word because I could also be bruised here pretty easily, is I think I am very good at receiving critique, I think I'm very good at helping people give better critique based on the questions that I ask. And my role is the only creative, full- time creative person on my team and a manager of other creative people. I've also consistently throughout my career been a creative person who is working with non creative people. So I've worked with... And not that these people do not create, of course. But in terms of our roles, I was doing design, I was creating copy, I was creating brand strategy and these folks were engineers, performance marketers, sales folks and so on. A lot of people, with writing, because it's something, everybody writes and everybody reads, people feel really comfortable giving you critique from a place of expertise when they maybe do not have a level of expertise. Whereas if someone puts up a finance plan or some engineer puts up a software plan, people are not going to critique it in the same way because they don't feel like they can because they're not a financial analyst or because they don't have skill in a different development language. But everybody reads and everybody writes, so people who will happily jump on, and it's the same with design because everybody sees design and interacts with packaging often. They are going to jump in and they are going to give you critique. And they are excited. People love giving feedback on certain things. So me having stuff ripped apart for years and when I was much more sensitive when I was writing things that were so close to my heart made it so I can hear feedback. And actually help the person get to what they really want to say. And I hear it from a really even place. And my crit sessions when I present a really big project or the structure that I've created over years and years of being able to help everyone feel heard and come away with really actionable things that I can do to strengthen the project are one of the biggest ones of pride in my professional tool belt.

Zachary Ballenger: That's awesome. That's awesome. So last question, what's the most authentic thing that's happened to you this week?

Joe Wadlington: So I spoke at Social Media Week and I am quarantined and work from home. I have two roommates who are also quarantined and work from home. The Wi- Fi that we have was built for three people to maybe be watching Netflix, maybe be sending texts for playing animal crossing. It's not built for three people to be giving presentations to thousands of people at Social Media Week. And so we did a tech run- through and everything was so seamless and wonderful, and then two minutes before my presentation went live, my slide stopped viewing and my video cut out. So everybody's there, we can see the room is being virtually filled with all these people who are having the little cute chats about like," I'm excited for this. This is so good. I've been preparing for this for months. I applied to be part of Social Media Week and was accepted in December. So this is huge." And there's no visual and no sound. I am just a headshot sitting there. And so my other two roommates are also in the middle of things that are similarly live and I know they're in it and I just got up and I knocked on their doors and I was like," This is what's happening for me." And they're like," Ah," in a very like deer in the headlight look, they too are really in the middle of something important. And so we just ran around the apartment and we unplugged anything that we did not need the Wi- Fi inaudible and went back into her room. And I worked with the Social Media Week folks who were really incredible and ended up having to upload my slides to a Dropbox account of someone who works at that company so that they could send it to someone else to screen cast my... We got very scrappy. But that moment of us just looking at each other and it being like, there's no one to be mad at here. There's no one like," How dare you get on a call while I'm also on a call?" Or," How dare you be checking email?" We can't ask each other to turn off all of our phones and leave the for four hours while I get my work done. And it was that nice thing where you see people are really having a hard time, but we're all aware of what the root cause is and that we're all on the same team. And so it was definitely one of those like," Well, this sucks, but everyone around me is doing the right thing and we all care about each other and we are on the same team and I'll figure it out." And then yep, at 5: 00 that day, I had one or two more beers than normal. And inaudible that, it was smooth and it all worked out. And that was just a nice feeling of, during COVID everybody is extra stressed and pulled extra tight and these ways in which we can look at each other and just say, if you realize someone is on the same team as you and you're trying to do the same thing, it's not them, it's just a situation. And so we just moved on and cracked a beer and it was great. [Crosstalk 00:36:36].

Zachary Ballenger: Yeah, absolutely. Joe, it was wonderful getting to know you in a very recorded. I really appreciate you being here.

Joe Wadlington: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Zachary Ballenger: Absolutely. I'm not sure if you noticed, but Joe is a storyteller at his core. It was ingrained in him from childhood and has elevated him to where he's at today. If we truly think about the origin of marketing, storytelling is the foundation. So how important is storytelling in modern marketing? According to Chris Brogan, the creator of StoryLeader, it's paramount.

Chris Brogan: ...is that, if things were working, then stories do the heavy lifting for you, and all you have to do is facilitate that story. The job of marketers is to develop and build the marketplace, which is the transactions that occur that deliver that product. And so to me, the story is the exciting part that gets us to the marketplace, and it's the minute after that what do people do that shows whether or not you've done what you should have done before?

Zachary Ballenger: A great story will inform the entirety of your marketing strategy. At the end of every show, we are showcasing the most important part of our show, you. We ask new questions every week and we want your most authentic answers. We want them in any form; audio videos, Zenga, Friendster, MySpace Me. You can write it down, you can send us an illustration. We just want to highlight you. Email us at thetic@ casted. us, hit us up at Twitter @ GoCastIt, or hit up our Driftbot at casted. us/ thetic. This week we wanted to know what you wanted to be when you grew up, and the answers were noble. Our producer Holly Pels wanted to be a nurse. Josh Mitchell reached for the stars and wanted to be an astronaut. And I always wanted to be a dinosaur. And it turns out that when they say you can be whatever you want when you grow up, it doesn't encompass a species change. If you'd like to hear more from Chris Brogan on the importance of stories in marketing, check out the Cashing In On Content Marketing podcast from Fractl. You can find that linked below in the related resources. A huge thank you to our guest, Joe Wadlington of Twitter, our producer, Holly Pels, our audio engineer, Tommy Nichols, and our designer, Byron Elliott. I'll catch you next week when we talk to Betsy Koliba of Element Three. Until then, stay authentic.


Host Zachary Ballenger interviews Joe Wadlington, Global Creative Lead at Twitter, about etiquette and editing. We're reminded that storytelling IS the job. And we hear what you wanted to be when you grew up.