If you follow the Blanton on social media, you might have interacted with Alie Cline—she’s the voice of the museum online as the Digital Content Strategist. In this edition of Behind the Blanton, a series where we profile different staff members, learn about why Alie came to Texas, her thoughts on keeping her personal and professional life separate (or not so separate!) and her not-so-secret career of riding horses competitively.
What brought you to Austin and the Blanton?
After graduating high school, I headed to Boston, Massachusetts for school. After 8 months, I knew living in Boston was totally not my thing—way too cold! I had always heard great things about Austin, so on a whim I decided to move down south. I transferred to the University of Texas as an English major, and then added Art History as a second major once it became clear that I had a passion for it. While in my last semester, a friend at the University told me about a new job that had just been created at the Blanton—their first ever social media position. I already had experience running my own art history blog and working for Slow Art Day as their social media manager, so this seemed like a perfect fit. The staff at the Blanton were gracious enough to work around my school schedule until I was able to graduate, and then brought me on to the museum full time.
What does a typical work day look like for you? How much time do you actually spend on social media?
Pretty much every waking moment I’m at work is spent online in some capacity, whether that’s on my phone or my computer. (To illustrate this point: at the moment, I have my computer, smartphone, and two iPads within an arm’s reach…) As the Blanton’s Digital Content Strategist, I am in charge of creating content for all the Blanton’s social media profiles, as well as our Blog, website, and other places we exist online. If you see a post from the Blanton, I wrote it (and probably spent way too long trying to make it fit into 140 characters for Twitter). Currently, the Blanton posts regularly to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in addition to weekly blogs and content on other networks, like Snapchat and Vine. In addition, I also manage updates to the museum’s website and oversee our monthly eNews. The bulk of my time is spent brainstorming, writing, finding images for, and posting all the content you see from the Blanton. When I’m at work, I’m pretty much glued to my phone and computer to make sure I never miss an incoming tweet, Facebook comment, or Instagram like.
What do you enjoy (and not enjoy) about your job?
I love that I’m on the “front lines” of the Blanton, in a way that not many people except the Visitor Services staff and the GAs get to be; many positions in the museum don’t get to communicate and interact with people in a one-on-one basis. If a visitor didn’t like something about their Blanton experience and said as much online, social media makes it very easy for me to have a conversation about what worked, what didn’t, and how we can improve their visit for the next time. One of the favorite parts about my job is also hearing how much people loved the museum! Of course, it’s also a plus getting to spend all day on the internet—I feel very connected to the world because I’m constantly seeing what conversations are trending online. The thing I dislike about my job is that I’m often at my desk the entire day. I make a point to do a lot of work from my phone so I can get up, move around, and get out of my cubicle. Smartphones make that possible!
How do you keep your online presence and your private life separate for yourself and the public?
The two are actually quite intertwined. My twitter and instagram are both public, and I’ll often tweet about work or museum initiatives on my twitter. I put my personal handles in professional presentations—I see it as part of building my personal brand, and I like to give people a way to connect with me that isn’t through the Blanton’s channels. Because I grew up in the digital age, I don’t think I’m as sensitive to keeping my online activities as private as say, a 50 or 60 year old would be. Plus, if a potential employer can’t easily and quickly find me online, that doesn’t say a lot about my social media skills! With that being said, I make a point to not post very personal things online. I’m always cognizant that what I say on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook is a reflection of my personal brand, and by extension, my ability to do my job. While I don’t shy away from showing my personality online (tweeting about politics, music, etc), I’m careful to always be respectful and know that a potential employer might be reading what I write at some point in the future.
What do you do outside of work when you’re not online?
Although I’m an obsessive notifications-checker for the Blanton outside of work, there are times when I don’t want to be glued to my phone. I’ve been riding horses since I was young and currently have two horses, one of which I compete on in hunter/jumper shows in Texas and surrounding states. My colleagues at the Blanton all know that I don’t use my vacation days to go to the beach—I go to horse shows instead! Getting a 1200 pound animal to do what you want isn’t always the easiest, but it’s incredibly rewarding and a great way to “unplug” and focus on something other than technology. The best part: a horse doesn’t care how many likes your Instagram post gets!
Learn more about our staff members by checking out other features in Behind the Blanton.