Every spring, an extraordinarily talented group comes to Oxford University Press to live, learn, and grow. We’re thrilled to announce that this April, some members will joining the social media team for the first time. We sat down with J.G. Mallard, J.K. Fowling, William Ducksworth, Philip K. Duck, and Alexander to discover what they love about Oxford, what gets them excited about social media, and what they hope to accomplish.
What made you decide the OUP quad was the best place to be?
J.G. Mallard: I believe I work well as both an individual and as part of a team. Working in the OUP quad gives me a great platform to showcase this as I can either provide moral support to my strange looking human colleagues by waddling along by their feet – or I can do the same thing as part of a team. I’m versatile like that.
J.K. Fowling: I love humans that don’t chase me away, nice grass to waddle on, free bagels, and books. OUP fit the bill perfectly.
William Ducksworth: This was my first time flying to Oxford, and it was the perfect place to be, it reminds me so much of my old work place. It’s a joy to be working here the view is very picturesque. It’s also a great way to meet new people, I get to quack everyone a good morning as they enter. Plus, loads of books to get my beak into.
Philip K. Duck: I read about it on “Don’t Fly into that Glassdoor.” You have to take all the reviews with a crumb of bread but everyone was raving about working at the OUP pond.
Alexander: Quack Quack.
Tell us about your colleagues. What distinguishes them so far?
J.G. Mallard: They’re the funniest ducks in all of Oxford. They’re always quacking me up.
J.K. Fowling: There are no lame ducks here. Everyone is super talented and quackers about social media.
William Ducksworth: Well, no one’s ruffled my feathers so far. Everyone is great and friendly. From my first day they have made sure I felt very welcomed and no different. I feel like I’m part of a family.
Philip K. Duck: Attention to detail, for sure. They are great at picking up all the crumbs. I’m more of a big picture duck—all about that whole slice of bread and how I can fit it in my beak and carry it around.
Alexander: Quack Quack Quack.
What do you hope to bring to OUP?
J.G. Mallard: I know thousands of humans read the OUPblog every day but no ducks that I know read it. Do you know why that is? It’s because it doesn’t address hard-hitting duck issues. Where is best to swim? Which humans are most likely to share their lunches with you? That’s what I’ll bring to the table, the real state of current affairs.
J.K. Fowling: Sometimes I feel like our human friends don’t fully understand us. Perhaps a new weekly feature on the OUPblog will elucidate things. I’ll call it “The Oxford Beaktymolygist.”
William Ducksworth: A quacking sense of humour and enthusiasm. Working on the social media team we can reach out to more of the duck community hopefully, (and other bird friends) and showcase what humans do. I hope this is the start of more human-duck work collaborations.
Philip K. Duck: I hope to ruffle a few feathers, really alter humans’ perceptions of what social media can be.
Alexander: Quack Quack.
And in the reverse, what new skills and knowledge do you hope to gain here?
J.G. Mallard: To be honest, I’m happy with what I can do, and anything I don’t understand I can wing it.
J.K. Fowling: I can’t wait to learn all about the best local swimming holes around here from my fellow ducks.
William Ducksworth: I would really like to improve on my public speaking. I’m quite shy and I think I intimidate humans with my quacks. Now working in publishing I’d love to hear more about human authors and literature. I’d also like to improve my coding abilities.
Philip K. Duck: I’m excited to use Hootsuite. I’ve only met a few owls in my life, so I’m excited to work with some.
How have you adjusted to OUP’s work culture?
J.G. Mallard: Do you know what, I love everything about working at OUP and it’s all gone swimmingly so far… except for one thing – the canteen. I’ll tell you why. It was my first day and I’d built up quite an appetite running the Oxford Fortune Cookie on Twitter and, subsequently, dreamt of eating actual cookies. So I headed into the canteen and that smell hit me. It was horrible. It reminded me of when I went on a duck holiday to Australia and my little brother stayed out in the sun too long. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I decided that packed lunches would be best for me from then on…
J.K. Fowling: I really have been able to spread my wings and fly here – really. It’s so much easier getting to team meetings this way.
William Ducksworth: When I started I did feel like a small duck in a big pond, but everything at OUP is great, I can’t complain. The cafeteria is amazing and there is always something to do here. I’m thinking of joining the drama society.
Philip K. Duck: I’ve always been a Mac duck, so it takes getting used to working on Windows.
Alexander: Quack Quack Quack Quack Quack.
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
J.G. Mallard: I don’t want to ruffle any feathers but I actually love Instagram. For some reason, humans think that just because we don’t have opposable thumbs – or thumbs of any description – we can’t take a good selfie. How wrong they are. I’ll gladly take on any of those stretched-out human folk in an Instagram competition. I’ll take a selfie and they can take a selfie and we’ll see which one gets more likes shall we? Clue, it won’t be the creatures with the short beaks.
J.K. Fowling: I may be biased but I do have to support my fellow Aves. I am a huge fan of Twitter and its concise publishing format. I do wish updates were called “quacks” instead of “tweets” though…
William Ducksworth: I feel Pinterest is really underrated, it’s been a life saver when it comes to present ideas or flying destinations.
Philip K. Duck: Twitter, for keeping in real-time touch with family and friends. And Snapchat, because even ducks are not immune to the joys geo-filters.
Alexander: Quack Quack.
How does social media help you connect with the wider world?
J.G. Mallard: Makes it easier to speak to my Mum I guess. She’s based hundreds of kilometres away so a quick DM is easier than flying all the way there.
J.K. Fowling: It never sleeps. From the quack of dawn to the middle of the night, information from all over the world is constantly being shared, reposted, and liked. It’s almost difficult to stay out of touch.
William Ducksworth: I’ve met many a ducks who love the same things as I do, such as forums and message boards for my favourite show Beaking Bad.
Philip K. Duck: It helps me keep tabs on my friends and family during migration. We all have our different preferences—I like to check out Key West when it gets cold up here. Social media lets me keep tabs on the ducks I know in Mexico, Mallorca, etc. Plus, I love live-tweeting How to Get Away With Murder.
Alexander: Quack Quack.
Any final words?
J.G. Mallard: You don’t have to be quackers to work in social media at OUP, but it certainly helps.