When you read a leaf that's based on your own story (personal experience), it really makes the difference between the leaf being good and great. With so much content out there on the web, it's essential to share some of your personality in everything that you write. Lavoie25 is the perfect example of a Zujava Writer that makes every leaf an interesting story, whether it's promoting a cause or sharing her recent trip.
I had the chance to interview Lavoie25 and asked her questions about her leaves, social networking, and the causes she's been passionate about. Here's what she had to say:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your passions, and the topics that you write about?
I’m a city girl working on Beacon Hill who tries to have as much fun as I can when I’m not working! I’m a people person who will go anywhere and try almost anything once. I love to travel, cook, sing loudly in my car (but never in my shower; my neighbors might hear me), and I drink my coffee from a mug, not a Styrofoam cup. I’m passionate about my family and friends, Boston sports, finding a great dive bar, and melanoma awareness. I’m a beach bum who can’t surf and a hockey player who can’t ski. I have been known to flip back and forth between CNN’s John King and TMZ. I own more flip flops and hoodies than I do shares in the stock market and I don’t like corn on the cob. So with all of that you can probably guess my interests and topics I write about will be pretty varied. I have been told that I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything; I think that makes me one of those jack of all trades; master of none kind of person, but we’ll see!
You took some excellent photos from your recent cruise and incorporated them into your "From One First Time Cruiser" leaf that has resulted in lots of repins on Pinterest. What did you use to take the photos, and do you have any travel photo tips for Zujava writers?
Thanks for the compliment! I have a Panasonic Lumix ZS8 14.1 Megapixel Digital Camera. There are so many different settings on the camera for almost every lighting scene you could be in. I am not a professional photographer so I usually stick to the Automatic setting which works 90% of the time. As much as I enjoy taking pictures with friends and capturing memories, I also love taking scenic pictures or trying to capture a different angle of an everyday view. The camera has 16 times zoom as well as digital zoom which allowed me to capture some shots that were pretty far away. For sunsets and skyline shots I will take maybe 10-20 of just the skyline or the sunset, and then maybe 5-10 shots at a different angle; which can be seen in the pictures under the “Where’s the beef” section and the “Tid bits” section. The picture for the “Tid bits” section, I positioned myself to the left of what I was trying to capture not knowing how it would look with the ship’s structure in the way; luckily when I got it onto my computer I liked it. I probably delete 60% of the scenic pictures I take. I guess my main tip would be that if you see something you like looking at, snap away! Try a few different angels and hopefully you’ll be able to capture a few that you’ll love!
You've also been very active in melanoma awareness. Would you care to share more about the leaves that you've published about melanoma, and what people can do to help spread the word?
Melanoma awareness and spreading the word about the dangers of tanning salons and sunburns is something very important to me. I lost one of my close friends to melanoma at the age of 26. She was diagnosed a month after graduating from college; the time when most people are eager to get a job and start their adult lives. Glenna battled for three years and tried any drug or procedure or clinical trial she could. She lost her fight in November of 2008. Her family and friends came together and founded the Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope (www.glennasfund.org) to continue the mission she started when she was fighting.
The two leaves I have published so far differ from each other in their writing style and scientific language. The first one I posted was my Capstone paper when I was getting my MPA. There are a lot of facts and information in there that support the dangers of melanoma and tanning, but also speaks to how the numbers of cases can be reduced. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” can similarly be used when talking about spreading the word about melanoma and reducing the number of instances. Legislation can’t do it alone; parents can’t do it alone; physicians can’t do it alone – it needs to be a combined effort between all facets of life to help reduce the number of people who are diagnosed and have to fight this horrible cancer. The second leaf was more informal and a quick list of tips and facts to breeze through and hopefully retain to memory! May is Melanoma Awareness Month so I thought it would be great to provide readers with facts & tips to help protect themselves.
You've started your own social networking website to help teach social networking as well as maintain social media accounts for businesses. Do you have any social media tips that might be helpful to writers on Zujava?
You’re the only person who can promote you! Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. If you have something to say and share, say it and share it. I am a big fan of Twitter. I like that I can read news headlines all in one place and can share sometime random thoughts I have or leaves that I have written. Pinterest has become another great outlet for sharing your work; and this is where choosing eye catching pictures for your leaves comes in. If people catch your picture and check out what the pin is, they’re more likely to repin it and it is shared more, which in return brings traffic to your leaves. A great thing about social media is that old news can always become new again. You can share past leaves or blog posts and attract a new audience.
What do you like best about writing on Zujava?
The integration between all the social media platforms is a huge plus. I also like the variety of options to include in each leaf; photos, products, polls, ebay, youtube, etc. It provides a writer with tools to be more creative in setting up their leaves and providing a variety of writing styles and leaf topics.
If you could give just one tip to other authors publishing on Zujava, what would it be?
If there’s a topic that interests you or is a passion of yours, write about it. You’re probably not the only person who is interested; sharing what your thoughts are, experiences, and tips will strike a chord with others and open up more doors for communication or discovery.
Care to share any plans for a future leaf in the making on Zujava?
I am a big fan of weekend adventures. This past weekend I was on Long Island, NY and went to the Belmont Stakes. I am hoping to start writing a few leaves based on weekend trips I’ve done that I found exciting and provide travel reviews and tips for people. I also an a huge tech gadget fan so I hope to start working on leaves related to features, apps, and tricks for iPads and iPhones, as well as review some new gadgets that have been released. My interests are all across a broad spectrum so I think as I continue to write my leaves will be too. I’m a foodie, a reality tv junkie, a live music fan, and a country music pumpkin so future leaves could be related to one of those topics too.
What would you like to see next on Zujava?
Maybe the option of a background template to use on leaves; the writer could choose either a color pattern or template for the background and also headings for each leaf?
Thanks Michelle, this was a great interview! The background templates are a very popular request that we will be looking into. I also encourage everyone to look at Glennsfund.org to help spread awareness about this dangers of melanoma.
One of the standout lines of the interview was about social networking, where she added "You’re the only person who can promote you! Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. If you have something to say and share, say it and share it." The time is now to start spreading the word about your leaves on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Twitter. If it's related to a certain celebrity, company, musician, or brand, why not give them a shout out on Twitter using the @user feature? Plenty of writers have been successful using this method, so give it a try.
Lavoie25 has written the following leaves on Zujava which are all worthy of your attention: