Twitter – the multimillion-dollar, microblogging, social network famous for its tweets – has almost 353 million active users per month and almost 6,000 tweets are posted every second. But, just how was Twitter created and run? How did it all begin? This is what some Year 8 girls found out on Monday 24th May during an online Interfaith Twitter Coding Workshop.
Every year, a group of Year 8 girls are selected to go and take part in a workshop at the Twitter HQ, however this year, being the strange year it is, the workshop was online. After a few technical difficulties, we – the eager partakers – logged on to Zoom, eager to participate and begin. To start off the workshop, Twitter coders showed us a sneaky trick of how to individually edit any website (only on our individual screen though, – don’t worry, we didn’t actually hack any websites!) We learnt that even though this is a fun tool, we should also be wary of this ability as it can be used in negative ways too. For example, someone could edit a tweet on their screen, screenshot it and post it on another social platform, like Instagram or Facebook. Before you know it, hundreds, if not thousands, of people could have viewed this fake tweet, so it is always best to check the actual source, in this case, Twitter.
As it was an interfaith workshop, we were put into groups with girls from an interfaith school alongside a Twitter coder. Within the groups, we began to learn the basics of creating a website using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and basic CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). HTML is the skeleton of the website and CSS is the clothing and decoration on top. We created our website using an online coding website (called codesandbox.com) using these two programming languages. We could choose any subject we wanted – animals and food were particularly popular! Our allocated Twitter coders provided us with a website with useful information about HTML and how to add to your website. To begin with, we learnt how to add a basic title and body of text. Then, we added images and were taught how to change the size of them. The next step was the beginning of using CSS to make the website look better overall. We altered the background colour, text colour and font, and even added borders to text and images.
By the end of the first half of the workshop, most of us were close to finishing our websites, so after adding a few final touches, we ‘gathered’ back together and shared our finished creations. It was amazing just how much we learnt in the one session!
After this, the workers had set aside time for a detailed Q&A on any questions we had about the culture or what it is like to work at Twitter. Extremely interesting questions were answered giving us a direct, elaborate insight on having a job at Twitter. It was extremely fascinating to hear the workers’ views on what responsibilities their job held.
To end off this phenomenal day, we had a talk on safety in the company and how you can block any unwanted hashtags or usernames coming up in your feed. The session was enjoyed thoroughly; even though it was via zoom, the workers along with the teachers from Hasmonean and the other interfaith school that joined us really made the most out of it being online. It really was an unforgettable day and an incredible experience. Thank you to those who helped make it possible for us to join – we are grateful that we had the opportunity to take part in the workshop.
By Ariella Masters and Sara Benaim