How do you strike a balance between running an account that represents a city and creating engaging content?

Great question. The two run hand-in-hand. If you’re creating content that truly represents a place—its people, perspectives, locations, and emotions—then it will resonate with the people that live there. Content is only engaging if you can identify with it.

Where do you find inspiration for tweets?

Everywhere. My Twitter timeline, Instagram, Facebook—walking around Durham … people are always talking about Durham. If I see something that I feel could be a promising piece of content, first I try to identify the feeling I want it to evoke. Then I try to come up with the fewest words possible to convey that feeling. In a world where every character counts, concision is vital. Then I try to put myself in the perspective of someone seeing the content for the first time, without any context.

Even then, I don’t know what’s going to hit until I post it. I have a comedy background in stand-up and improv and there are a ton of parallels. You can spend hours crafting what you think is the perfect line, and it falls flat. And then you can have a throwaway line that gets a huge reaction. It’s the same on social media.

What is “Durham” to you? How do you try to bring that to life in your tweets?

Durham is a place that people care very passionately about. It’s a place where every day I see someone I know and someone I’ve never seen before. It’s comfortable, but always has something new to explore and discover. That’s a balance I try to bring to our content.

What is your favorite tweet that you’ve ever written for Discover Durham, and why was it your favorite?

The one about the earthquake back in August [Ed note: the tweet says “Us: 2020 couldn’t get any more chaotic. NC: hold my tectonic plate]. This is one of those examples I mentioned earlier about a throwaway line getting a huge reaction. I woke up that morning having slept through the earthquake and saw everyone talking about it in my timeline. 2020 seems to have some new terrible surprise every day, and people love to make fun of that [to help cope with the terribleness]. I’ve also found that personifying the state of North Carolina is really fun. So I imagined, what if North Carolina had a “hold my beer” type moment?