Archive | April 2016

On Social Media Usage Insights I Learned During my Buffer Job Application Process (Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job)

I originally came here to write a post about my recent job rejection from Buffer. The post led me to start reflecting on my social media usage over time, which became a monster post of its own. As a result, this material is being split into two different blog posts. This post will contain information about Buffer and why I wanted to work for them in this post, with some basic information about the things I noticed about my social media usage. The second post will have some more in depth analysis of my Facebook usage over time, and include a bunch of charts/graphs. If you’re more intertested in the social media aspect of this post than me rambling about how awesome Buffer is, you can skip ahead and click “Read More.”

Around the beginning of the year, I debated starting to schedule my social media posts. If you follow me you know I post A LOT on social media. Like, way too much. I am aware of it, but my ADD and love of constant interaction have kept me from ever really reigning it in. This over-posting is sometimes interspersed with several week social media hiatuses to reboot and recharge, after which my posting decreases significantly and then steadily climb back up to “all the damn time.” I wanted a way to better manage my personal social media, and I decided to give Buffer a try.

For those that don’t know, Buffer is a tool which helps you create and schedule social media posts in advance. Buffer also analyzes data from these posts and provides metrics to help you find out the best times to actually post for maximum audience engagement. When I went to the website, I noticed a link saying that Buffer was hiring and decided to take a look at the types of jobs they were looking to fill and find out more about their company. Within minutes, I was hooked. When I began reading about Buffer’s company values, it was like reading about my personality in company form, I felt like I had found my tribe. I could make an entire entry about why Buffer is awesome, but for the sake of brevity here are some of the main reasons I wanted to apply to work at Buffer (with links to further resources on their site):

  1. They have a really great set of company values based around positivity and happiness. There’s also a value to have a focus on self-improvement. It’s no secret I struggle with depression. But despite this, or perhaps even because of this, I work really hard to maintain a positive mental attitude. This includes mindfulness and gratitude training, good habit formation experiments, reading a lot of self-improvement material, and constantly working to better myself. I don’t always succeed, but I am always working on it. I have worked in some very negative and toxic environments and know that working in a company that promotes happiness would be an excellent fit for me, and me for them. (They even used to have a page about employees ongoing habit experiments, that unfortunately isn’t updated anymore, had I been hired I wanted to try to reboot this!).
  2. They are very transparent about their company. They not only list employees’ salaries (even the CEO’s is listed!), but they tell you the formula they used to get them so there is no stressful salary negotiating. They also talk openly about past mistakes and failures in the company. I try to be as transparent as I can online, from talking about depression to admitting when I screw things up or fail at goals(2), so it felt really great to know I could work for a company that not only approves of but embraces transparency.
  3. They not only encourage employees to use vacation time, but they PAY them to do so. When I left my former position I had two months of vacation time accrued because I was never able to use it. I was only able to be paid out for a certain amount of hours, and because I was leaving I wasn’t allowed to take a vacation so I ended up losing a lot of vacation time that I worked hard for. When I complained to my former boss about not being able to use it due to our insane experiment schedules he replied “They give you too much vacation anyway.” This put a really bad taste in my mouth and made me sad that I had lost something that I worked hard for, so it felt nice to know I could have a job where I was encouraged to actually take earned time off.
  4. Buffer allows you to self-manage, which includes creating your own schedule. Another Buffer value is to “Live Smart, Not Harder” which includes giving it’s employees the freedom to determine their own optimal working schedules depending on what makes them happiest. After nearly a year doing all part-time and freelance work, I’ve learned a lot about my self-driven productivity and work habits. Namely, I tend to have a few very productive hours in the morning, followed by a lull mid-day, and then I get a second wind and am productive again in the evening. It’s hard to find a job that fits around these productivity hours, but Buffer lets you work when you feel it’s best. They trust their employees to be productive on their own, which is important. I am self-driven, using things like Rescuetime to track my productivity and tweak scheduling for maximum work, and I’d love to be trusted to do so.
  5. Buffer works as a distributed team and encourages employees to work from wherever they are happiest. This means, so long as there is Wifi you can work from wherever you want. Some employees work at home, others in coffee shops, and the coolest example: a handful of Buffer employees recently worked from Mexico! This is such a cool concept and has gotten me mildly obsessed with the Digital Nomad culture. I have lived in Philadelphia forever and really want to explore other areas, but am not sure where I want to live yet. Had I worked for Buffer I’d have had the ability to change locations periodically until I settled in one place.
Those are just a handful of reasons Buffer is cool. The following is the full list of their 10 Company Values:
buffer values
After submitting my online application for Happiness Hero at Buffer, I didn’t have any interaction from them other than an email stating they received my application, and a follow on Twitter from their co-CEO Joel. I followed a handful of Buffer employees and became part of their Slack community, but aside from that the only direct contact I had from Buffer was a very nice rejection email from Deborah just over a month after I applied. I wrote a tweet about how I had been rejected and Darcy replied asking if I’d care to elaborate on what I learned to them. I started this writing back and then realized it would make for a good blog post and here we are.

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