Tamsin, early 30s
So, what exactly does an online manager do?
As Online Manager at the Victorian Arts Centre, Tamsin takes on a diverse role. Most simply her "job is to manage our internet site which gets about 60,000 visitors a month" but other multimedia projects have also ended up in her job description.
"It's also managing our intranet site for staff as well as two e-newsletters, the main one is eNews which goes to all our subscribers (about 12-15,000 people) and then we have an online program called ViBe for our younger audience, which has about 2000 readers."
How did you become an Online Manager?
Tamsin came to her current role "quite circuitously" after completing degrees in Arts (with Honours in English and Cinema) and Professional Writing and Editing. "I used to edit literary journals and it was just about the time that the web was taking off in the mid-90s," Tamsin recalls. She found herself taking literary journals off the page and putting them on-screen, because the web was "a place where ideas could gain an audience."
Tamsin worked in a dot com start-up for a couple of years, before it suffered from the economic downturn after September 11. Tamsin observes that the web can be "exciting when things are going well but it can be precarious when things aren't going so well." As a large arts organisation, the Arts Centre offered a permanent web job in difficult economic times while still "working with music and theatre which are really engaging environments to be in." It was the timely combination of stability and creativity that appealed to Tamsin.
What's a typical working day involve?
For Tamsin there's nothing typical about any given work day. "The work really changes depending on the projects we're working on," she notes. "We publish ViBe every Wednesday, for example, so the morning is usually about putting that together. It might also mean working some nights, because I write reviews as well, so it's also going to shows and trying getting something to publish the next day."
What sort of skills and qualities do you need?
Coming from a text background, Tamsin has had to develop several other skills in her diverse role. "There's a very broad scope. There's the management aspect, guiding contractors for various projects, sometimes it'll be writing, sometimes it'll be design or meeting up with industry partners. It's quite diverse."
While she has an arts background, her job often involves delving into other areas: "When technical things go wrong and you're working to a deadline and you know that smacking your computer won't help," she jokes. In many ways her job is a one-stop shop for the Arts Centre's online communications, so she's had to adapt her skills to satisfy these changing demands.
What qualities do you need to be an Online Manager?
Much like editing, accuracy is important in Tamsin's job, perhaps even more so with "an eye for detail essential when the coding world is so unforgiving." As well looking at the intricacies of code and content, Tamsin stresses the need to see "the larger picture because if you get too caught up in the detail you don't produce interesting work."
But above all "a high level of tolerance is good online," Tamsin laughs, "because the diversity of problems will drive you a bit insane otherwise."
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).