The Secret to Twitter's Hip Corporate Culture: Stationery

Twitter's head of corporate culture runs a letterpress out of her garage

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Elizabeth Bailey Weil lists her job title at Twitter as "Head of Culture," and we're not really sure what that means. Thankfully, a profile of sorts in Thursday's Wall Street Journal offers some clues. After joining the company in 2009 to help handle mergers and acquisitions, Weil floated the idea of creating the position to her boss and Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo, and he gave it the go-ahead. From The Journal's description Weil's job consists partly of creating "branded goods to bolster employee morale" and "to make a rapidly expanding company feel small." The lynchpin and presumable inspiration is an old-timey letterpress that Weil runs out of her garage:

[Weil] pens welcome notes on her hand-made stationery to all new Twitter employees. By her account, she's done about 600.

Paper has a particular appeal for those who spend hours at a time in front of a screen. Much of the recent small-stationery resurgence has taken place in letterpress printing, a method that uses raised type to make a deep impression in thick paper, creating a substantial, textured object. "You can pet it," says Ms. Weil.

The fact that Twitter keeps it real the dead-tree way doesn't come as a huge surprise. Recently departed Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has championed the idea of keeping the intimate feel live as the company turned from a start-up into a corporation. When the company started blowing up, he talked openly about keeping things humble at Twitter HQ.

"We focus a lot on culture specifically at Twitter because of this spotlight," Stone told The Guardian around the time Weil joined the company in 2009. "We don't want to end up like the child actor who found success early and grew up all weird and freaky. We want to remain OK; just because we found success early and in many ways got lucky doesn't mean we're all a bunch of geniuses. It means what it means."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.