Austin is a city that seems to be growing faster than it's own good at times. That's why we're glad to have publications like Austin Monthly to keep us up to date and informed. We had the pleasure of chatting with the witty and wise Darcie Duttweiler, a native Austinite and the Digital Media Manager for Austin Monthly. Read on to find out Darcie's digital media advice, how she maintains a healthy balance of work and play, and who has the best cheeseburger in Austin.
Hello Darcie! What is your role at Austin Monthly?
Hi! I'm Darcie Duttweiler, and I'm the Digital Media Manager at Austin Monthly, which is, as we like to call it, the city magazine of Austin. As my title suggests, I basically manage anything digital. I like to say that if it's not physically IN the magazine I've probably had my hands on it. That means that I help out with everything from events to email marketing—and everything in between. I wear a lot of hats around here and do a lot of different things, including writing and editing online-only content for austinmonthly.com, creating email newsletters and, of course, social media.
What made you decide to get into social media?
Weirdly enough, I totally didn't decide to get into social media. I graduated college a couple of years before social media was being taught in school, so it wasn't even something I knew there was a career for. I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn't always so sure where, what, or how. I would still say, first and foremost, I'm a writer, which helps me in working in social media since it's essentially telling stories given whatever medium you're using. Since no one was focusing on anything digital at Austin Monthly before I got here, I had the privilege of really crafting and honing an online strategy, and social media is a huge part of that.
What does your workday look like?
Oh gosh, I'm ashamed to admit that as soon as I turn off my alarm I'm immediately on my phone. Like, before I turn on a light or get out of bed, I am checking our social media accounts to make sure nothing has blown up while I was asleep. If I'm not putting out any fires, which sometimes happens, I start my day by reading the news to get story ideas, scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and emailing up a storm. My days really vary, but I write a lot, interview various people, email a ton and, of course, spend a lot of time on social media. If there's a photo shoot or something BTS-worthy happening that day, then I'm going to those events to capture it all on my phone.
What do you like the most about working at Austin Monthly?
I love the variety! I get to meet really interesting people who have fascinating stories, and I get to help them tell their tales, whether I'm writing an article or Tweeting about it. You never know where a story is going to go, and that's fun. Plus, it's not too shabby to try out some of Austin's tastiest restaurants in the name of social media.
Where do you find inspiration?
Because my job is so varied, I find inspiration all over the place. I love to read a lot, which I firmly believe helps any writer get better. So, whether it's a pop-culture article on Vulture or a 400-page novel, I will read just about anything. I also really love movies, and, again, I will watch just about anything. It's important when doing social media to stay on top of what's popular or critically acclaimed to see how you can parlay that attention to your brand. (Right now I'm obsessed with Kubo and the Two Strings and am devouring any making-of featurettes because that movie is just so darn gorgeous.) But, strictly in terms of the online realm, a great place to find inspiration is from creative brands who are doing something great, whether its video, photography or social media. Austin Monthly is a small crew, and I'm essentially my own department, so we obviously can't compare to Cosmopolitan or J. Crew, but I love following them on Instagram to get inspired and to see if there's anything similar I can do, albeit on a much, much, much smaller scale.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
That's a tough one! Like I said, I'm on my phone before I even put one foot out of bed, so it's obviously slightly unhealthy. One thing I had to do when I started managing Austin Monthly's social media accounts was turn off all push notifications on my phone. I know this might be a bit of a no-no, but my phone was just going off all the time, and I was going insane, especially if we have any sort of contests running. So, now I will just manually check our accounts throughout the day to make sure there isn't anything that needs attention. Luckily our followers aren't that angry all the time, so it's pretty easy to stay on top of!
What are you doing when you're not working?
My boyfriend works for the Alamo Drafthouse, so luckily I get to see a lot of movies. (We actually met writing film reviews for the same website, so we both love film.) I'm also a huge foodie, so I dine out, as well as cook, a ton. Other than eating and watching movies, I'm a novice yogi and try out a bunch of yoga classes around town. But, I really love curling up with a great glass of wine and a riveting book and chilling with my grumpy felines.
What is your favorite time of year in Austin?
I know this isn't a popular opinion, and I regret saying this every year, but summer is my favorite. I'm a native Austinite, so I grew up with the heat. Although you never quite get used to 100-degree temperatures, I just love summer. I love swimming, grilling, fireworks, sundresses, the sounds of cicadas, large glasses of rosé, fireflies, and super late sunsets. I just hate when it gets dark here before 6 p.m.
Who has the best cheeseburger in Austin?
How am I supposed to answer that?! It's like choosing which one of my cats is my favorite. I will be super diplomatic here: It truly depends on my mood. If I want a big, fat burger served with a beer and a side of surliness, I will head to Casino El Camino or Jackalope. If I want a gourmet burger with an oyster appetizer, I'm going to Clark's Oyster Bar. If I'm in a rush and just want the taste of Texas, then I'm popping through a Whataburger drive-thru. And, if I'm being truly lazy, then I'm calling up Hill-Bert's to deliver a cheeseburger and a milkshake.
What advice would you give to people who are interested in digital media?
Don't be afraid to try new things. Social media is all about trying, failing and then trying something different. That's the beauty of it! You get to immediately see how well you're doing and then shift gears if need be. So, get creative, think outside the box and try just about everything you can. Also, and this is perhaps my most important pearl of wisdom, make sure to develop a thick skin. We have some very... ah... vocal followers and it can sometimes be difficult to read their comments without taking it all to heart. Remember... you're doing a great job. Now, go get a glass of rosé. Tomorrow is a new day.