UCSB HC Alum and BuzzFeed Researcher: Kirby Beaton


1. What got you interested in Her Campus? How long were you involved?

I wasn't as involved in campus activity my Freshman year so when Sophomore year rolled around, I decided to join an organization to meet new people and to add something to my resume. I heard of Her Campus and thought it seemed like both the perfect place to meet some new friends and explore my interest in writing and social media! I was an editorial and social media intern for two years, and then was Co-Campus Correspondent my Senior year.


2. Besides Her Campus, what else were you involved in while at UCSB?

I was also involved with the English Club/Lit Club - a group for English majors and anyone interested in discussing literature!



3. What is it that you do at BuzzFeed?

I work on BuzzFeed's travel team, Bring Me!, as their lead researcher. Over the last year and a half I've helped discover really unique and amazing places for the page to cover as well as helping the page hone in on its identity and different formats we can try on all of our platforms. I lead weekly brainstorms with our team where we come up with tons of brilliant ideas for new things to test all around the world. I also assist in ideating Instagram stories and writing posts on the Bring Me! section of BuzzFeed.com!


4. What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?

As a huge book nerd, I wanted to test out content that would reach that audience on our page as well as utilizing UGC (user generated content), so I ideated a video on "the most beautiful bookstores" around the world. I chose the locations, found the footage on Instagram and YouTube, and worked with an editor on creating the final product. The video ended up performing very well - over 150,000 shares on Facebook - and is still the best-performing UGC video on our page! Not only is it content very near and dear to my heart, but it helped us brainstorm more successful content later on.



5. How does it feel seeing so many people enjoy something you’ve worked on?

It definitely is crazy when I see some of the numbers our videos get! Even weirder is when I see acquaintances on Facebook comment or like a video I worked on without knowing I helped make the video! It makes it feel like a very small world. 


6. What do you think helped you get to where you are now career-wise?

Diving into something and working hard to get really good at it. I didn't necessarily have the perfect skills for my job when I started, but I had the creativity and work ethic to grow into the role. Now, I can confidently say that there's no one else at the company that can quite do what I do. Finding a niche where I could fit in and make myself useful has definitely helped me continue to grow upwards within my team. Also, advocating for myself! It's really hard - especially for women - to feel comfortable pushing for ourselves and our careers, but at the end of the day, you're the only one who can make your voice heard. 


7. Where are some places you’d like to visit that you haven’t already? Who would you bring?

I definitely have a mile-long bucket list of places I still want to go! Ireland, Japan, Canada, Morocco, and New Orleans are just a few! I love traveling with my family, especially my sister. 



8. What inspires you? Do you have any role models?

I'm inspired a lot by Instagram and seeing beautiful places on my feed everyday - the wanderlust is real! A lot of my role models are authors and artists. I really admire people who feed into their creativity and have the dedication to make it their full-time job. 


9. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done since graduating?

I traveled throughout Thailand for two weeks! It was such a fun experience and so different from the ways I've traveled before. We stayed in some really amazing places, like a treehouse open to nature, and ate some amazing food at the food markets in the cities. 



10. What has been the biggest hardship as a post-grad and what did you get out of this experience?

Before I got my job at BuzzFeed I was actually unemployed for about eight months after graduation. I was working retail and applying to new jobs almost everyday, but nothing stuck. It was disheartening and make me question everything I wanted to do in life - maybe I wasn't cut out to work in media? Looking back, it was a difficult experience and a very low time for me, but I think it gave me a chance to evaluate what I wanted from a job and have that in mind when I finally started my career. It also gave me more free-time for writing!


11. What are some goals, both professional and personal, that you have for the future?

Personally, I'd love to travel more and even live in another place for a while. I've lived in California my entire life (except when studying abroad), so it'd be fun to branch out and try a new place out! Professionally, I'm working more on my writing career and hope to move into a position that lets me do that full-time in the next few years. My secret desire is to write a book series! 



12. If time and money weren’t an issue, what would you love to be doing right now?

I'd be traveling the world and working on my book. And eating a lot of great food.


13. Is there anything people are surprised to learn about you?

I think people are surprised by how much I love nerdy things. I even started a Sci-Fi and Fantasy Bookclub at work!



14. What career advice would you give to current college students?

Find something you're passionate about and stick with it! Your first job out of college might not be your dream one, but any connections are good ones. You never know what can happen down the line, so make sure to work on your passion projects but be open to seeing where the job market takes you.