Six months go by fast. About four weeks passed between accepting Smashing Magazine’s internship offer and showing up the first day. I came to Freiburg with an open mind to experience and absorb a new and different kind of work. I’d never worked for an online magazine and when I got the chance to do so, I jumped at the opportunity. From the moment when I stepped into the great atmosphere at the office I knew I’d made the right decision.
The first week went into setting up computer related stuff as to be expected. Having previously used various social platforms I am no stranger to things like Twitter and Facebook. And at Smashing Magazine active participation on online social platforms is encouraged. A dangerous time-suck if not carefully self-monitored :-)
I got involved in various different projects, both related to articles published on Smashing Magazine as well as more general office oriented work. All of which taught me about the inner workings of how the magazine is run. My various assignments offered a great opportunity to get to know everything from the people at the office and writers for the magazine, to the community of readers, a big part of what makes Smashing what it is.
A Working Team
Smashing Magazine has a tradition of everyone getting together for Friday lunch every so often. Previously focused on a pretty steady diet of sushi, we changed it up a bit every time. These joint lunches were for me a great way to get to know my co-workers and get a bit of insight into a different culture and ways of thinking. For those of you who didn’t know, Smashing Magazine is located in Freiburg, Germany and thankfully I never experienced the team here growing tired of my sometimes endless stream of questions.
In November I had the chance to go to Munich with a few of the team from the office to attend the Web Font Day (in German) conference. The five hour train journey was very much worth it. Being a part of and interact with people all so passionate about their work is something I definitely want to experience more. It inspired me to start seeking out more conferences to hopefully attend and learn more from.
Online and Offline
When I arrived at Smashing Magazine offices in September everyone was hard at work preparing the publication of the Smashing Book #2 published in February. My assignment was to get in touch with the author of each chapter and to compose with them their bio for the book. This was quite an interesting project for me as the authors come from all over the world and I believe the outcome of the cooperation turned out good.
I also had the chance to practise my HTML and CSS skills by making the List of Links for the book. This was a valuable learning experience in terms of taking the time to read up on methods and practices as well as keeping things simple.
Beginning of March marked the one year anniversary of The Smashing Newsletter, started during my predecessor’s, Jessica Bordeau, time spent here. Participating in writing the short posts the newsletter is composed of has been one of my best introduction into how it is to write for the web. I got first hand experience in seeing the changes it had on my own writing.
In between shorter projects I did get a chance to work on my own article for Smashing Magazine. As I started researching and writing, I frequently felt too restrained by the methods of the academic writing I’ve developed for myself during my various studies. I often doubted my approach and tried to attack the project from different perspectives. Several times I rewrote parts as I continually developed a better sense of that constitutes online writing for me. In the end though, as with all writing and creative pursuits in general, I believe getting your facts straight and writing from your heart is the answer. That, and 42 of course. I figured you’ve got to throw yourself out there and gradually develop and discover your own writing style. During the six months I’ve stayed at Smashing I began doing just that. And along the way I started enjoying the freedom of thought it brings. It has really changed the way I think about writing in many aspects and that’s exactly what I came here to do.
My internship at Smashing Magazine gave me a rare look at how a web publication functions on a day to day basis. The number of people and the amount of work it takes to getting things done and what happens behind the scenes when new articles are proposed, written and prepared for publication on the site. It’s worth to note that during my stay the number of people on the team at the office just about doubled. Smashing Magazine keeps growing.
Smashing has carved out its own niche in the tech world, with their focus on high quality articles on everything related to web development. Having been a part of this team if only for six months has given me glimpse into the unique strategy Smashing Magazine’s has adopted in the online publishing world. The magazine has evolved quite a bit since its inception and Vitaly and the rest of the team constantly keep up on the latest developments, keep ahead of trends, commission articles and generally stay on top of their game.
A big part of my internship at Smashing Magazine was the fact that I lived in Freiburg for six months. Navigating cultural differences is both fascinating and difficult. It’s a constant challenge to adapt to and be a part of a new culture (even if at first glance it doesn’t seem so different from what you’re used to). Experiencing everything that comes with living in a new and unfamiliar place definitely expanded my horizon. It provided a great many unfamiliar and diverse perspectives to look at things in a new way and with an open mind. I might even claim that during my time there this element became one of the more important ones to me.
All in all it’s been a great adventure that’s definitely been worth it for me. So thank you Smashing Magazine for the insights, the experience and all the fish.
Takk fyrir mig und bis später :-)