Not too long ago YD featured @xiann and her wonderful illustrations. I thought it would be interesting to learn a tiny bit more about a person who made such interesting observations in comic form. I tweeted to Christiann to see if she had any interest in doing a mini interview and lucky for me (and you) she did!
Questions with Christiann MacAuley
First congratulations to you and your husband on the future addition to your family. Invest in towels because kids spill things. A lot!
CM: Thanks! I'm due in April and I always know where my towel is (Douglas Adams joke).
You’ve talked about some of the struggles you encountered over the years being a woman in the tech field. It’s one of those environments where a portion of the populace suffer from various grade of foot in mouth disease. In 2015, how abnormal is it to be a woman in tech versus when you first entered? What are some of the benefits of being a woman in tech?
CM: Being a woman in tech hasn't actually become more common than it was. There still aren't nearly as many women in tech (or STEM fields in general) as men, so working in male-dominated workplaces is an everyday reality.
On the bright side, there's a lot of buzz and energy focused on improving the diversity of the industry in general. There are also many tech workplaces (mine included) that try hard to make women feel comfortable and help them succeed. I have a lot of hope for a new generation of women in tech, thanks to this growing awareness and action.
Are there benefits to being a woman in tech? Actually, it's hard to follow the premise. Every woman is different, and we all have our own advantages and disadvantages, but they almost never come from simply being female. Also, being a woman isn't something I think about much, unless I have to, especially not when I'm just doing my job. So I'm not saying it totally sucks to be a woman in tech -- it doesn't! -- but it's not a situation that has special benefits.
I prefer Ello for actually connecting with people but lets face it, if you have any sort of small business, art, what have you, you probably need to have some skin in other social networks. You’ve got a lot going on social network wise. FB, Twitter, g+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Ello. How the hell do you keep them all in sync? I would really like to know and would love any tips!
CM: Haha, well, I have a lot of social media accounts. It's partially just because I'm always interested to sign up for a new site and see how it works, what the community is like, and so on. I regularly update all the profiles you mentioned! Updating each account takes me a few minutes, so updating all seven accounts takes me 15-30 minutes, depending my caffeine level. Here are some tips:
Philosophically speaking ...
- Time management is super important, because social media steals precious creative time! Don't be a perfectionist about what you post, and give yourself a time limit for social media outreach (maybe less than 30-60 minutes a day).
- Don't be a narcissist either. You can't spend all day watching likes and comments roll in. Check your profiles a few times a day or less. And don't get all bummed about it if no one seems to pay any attention to your posts. Just focus on making your next thing!
- Also, you have to develop a thick skin, because some people might just totally hate on you or your work for no good reason. Who cares though? They're just haters.
- That said, get your work in front of some strangers for honest critique -- just to make sure the haters are wrong. You can't count on friends and family to tell you if you suck, er, need improvement. If you're not sure how to do that, try an online community (DeviantArt, Ello, and Reddit could all help) or take an art class.
More nitty gritty:
- You can post to multiple sites at once with some tools, but you'll usually get the best results by posting to each site directly.
- You can link up Instagram and Tumblr with a lot of accounts, so a post from one of those sites automatically goes to Twitter, Facebook, etc. I use that feature sparingly because of what I mentioned above, but it's nice sometimes.
- I have a quick way to open all my social profiles in tabs at once, which saves me some time when I want to update or check each one. First, I created a bookmarks folder called "my sites" where I saved a bookmark for each of my social sites. Now I can right-click on that folder and choose "Open all bookmarks", which opens each site in a separate tab.
- Don't post on social networks without participating in them. You need to spend some time interacting with other people's posts. There are so many reasons to do this I can't even list them all! Communities are all about participating.
So I guess you and Luke Skywalker have something in common. You both have have twin sisters. What’s that like and does she share any of your varied interests? What are your midi-chlordan counts?
CM: My twin sister (Sheridan MacAuley) and I are close, and we're both passionate about writing and making things. With another friend, we co-host a weekly meetup group focused accomplishing creative goals. Sheridan's a super talented and prolific writer who has completed several novels and had some short stories published, including a few humor pieces in McSweeney's. We make and sell t-shirts and stuff together, and Sheridan came up with our bestselling t-shirt, which says "I Want To F. Scott Fitzgerald".
Sheridan works in biotechnology and has a fancier degree than I do. She's got two wonderful little boys who I adore, so she's ahead of me in more ways than one.
I'm not sure what our midi-chlordan counts are! Our blood pressure and cholesterol are looking good though :)
P.S. - if you want a more in depth interview check this one out!