On Leaving Twitter 💙 🫡

This is a repost of a thread I wrote on Twitter.

I have resigned from Twitter after nearly 5 years working on all things Web.

Throughout those years I have had the pleasure of working alongside remarkable people on many amazing things. So if you will permit me some navel-gazing I would like to run through some highlights.

Things I worked on

I'm so pleased to have been part of building twitter.com, working on features like Topics, Search, Events, and Video. I'm especially proud of the work I did with @vjo and the team building the Events experience.

The Events page allowed media like live-video and Tweets to share a timeline with the video front and centre. This enabled sports fans to watch the game while catching the related Tweets from other fans, the so-called "roar of the crowd".

One of my first projects was to help migrate the Events page from the existing Scala implementation to the fresh #React flavour that was due to roll out that year.

But Events wasn't just sports. The Events page allowed Twitter Curators to quickly provide context to real-world and breaking news events.

One example of "real-world" was when the news about the Notre Dame fire broke. Where else but on Twitter. Enabled by the Events page, the excellent @TwitterUK Curation team were one of the first to start live reporting.



Events were at the heart of the COVID-19 response on Twitter too. Once again the Events page was used to provide important and timely updates on a situation that was changing daily.

We also used some of the work I had done on the video carousel to take it out of the Events page and bring it to more parts of twitter.com. This was used to help efforts to combat COVID-19 misinformation and showed users links to Events pages with region-specific health updates.

Twitter Web

The Twitter Web Community is an example of some of the best geographically distributed team building I have ever been part of. The weekly rituals, socials, meet and greets, code jams, Fixit days/weeks etc all made for a strong team across teams.

The Web Community was always growing and always learning. A series of RFCs drove impactful changes to the way we worked. I was involved in an effort to standardise the process for code ownership which helped unblock non-US code reviews. Similarly, the Web Postmortem process meant we could investigate, understand and fix issues that arose when building the global scale, twitter.com.

Working on the Web wasn't always smooth sailing but I'm astonished at the progress we made.

In the background, there was always work in hand be that changes to support React versions, extracting components for the design system or migrations to GraphQL / relay. Even the odd random corner of the codebase that didn't yet have flow coverage or was still using Enzyme.

Teams tasked with this would often receive help from the wider community and this was a great opportunity to learn what a different part of the codebase did.

Twitter UK

#TwitterUK is also high on the list as a highlight. The Twitter UK office is an incredible space right in the heart of London. But without the people, it would be just another building in the city.

Many Tweeps made London what it was. Too many to name but I'm thankful to have worked in such a welcoming office. From day one I felt at ease, everyone was friendly and super keen to help out (there's a LOT to remember on that first week).

There was plenty to love about working at Twitter and the bi-annual #OneTeam conferences were also certainly one of them. Everyone together, putting faces to names, catching up with faraway friends from across the pond. It's also some of the largest audiences I've has to the pleasure of speaking in front of.

People

Massive shoutout to everyone that has helped me over these 5 years. Having you around allowed me to ask many dumb questions, make many mistakes and grow. I never stopped learning at Twitter from SWE2-> Senior -> Tech Lead -> (Staff😬) and if I find somewhere half as supportive as Twitter was I will consider myself lucky.

I have also watched with great joy the interns and juniors that joined my team go off to do great things and I cannot wait to see what you all do next. Mentoring is something I really enjoy and you very quickly realise how well / not so well you know something when you have to explain it.

What's next? Well, I'm going to spend time with family over Christmas and take some time to recharge my batteries. If you wanna keep in touch you can find me on mastodon (link in bio).

But with all that said I am excited about the future and a little sad to be saying goodbye. #LoveWhereYouWorked.

First appeared on Trusty Interior, last update 14 Jan 2023