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Turning Passion into Career Opportunities

CxC's "Inside the CxC Studio" Hosts Website Creator to Talk About Communicating Ideas and Living a Dream

Video: Inside the Communication Studio with Jay Ducote [50:45]

LSU students recently gathered in CxC's Studio 151 to learn about discovering their passion and turning it into a career. LSU alumnus, blogger, media personality and creator of BiteAndBooze.com Jay Ducote shared his personal, yet humorous story of how he has coupled his passion for food and friends with his love of writing.

"The best thing about the event was seeing someone turn an interest into a tangible product," said Katie Pate, a graduate student in the Manship School of Mass Communication. "Jay was able to gain recognition without moving through typical avenues and that was encouraging."

Ducote's time as an LSU student exposed him to what many would consider unrelated topics – tailgating and writing.

"I learned that LSU tailgating was much more than being in charge of food and drinks," Ducote said. "It was more so about the culinary experience, socializing and the sense of community."

With an interest in writing and a passion for food, drink and good company, Ducote decided to seek a creative outlet to chronicle what he ate and drank throughout each day. Last September, a Google search introduced him to Blogger.com, a free and easy-to-use blog hosting site and shortly after BiteAndBooze.com was born.

"My blog was my avenue to employ the English language – to communicate with Louisianians and create a community for like-minded food lovers," he noted. "The beautiful thing about food is that people are always willing to talk about it."

Ducote initially used Facebook to promote BiteAndBooze.com to his friends and family. It wasn't until a trip to San Francisco for a food writers' festival that he realized the expansive world and power of social media.

LSU Fall Fest 2010 HighlightsDucote said that networking with other people in the social media space is a critical component of success.
"The major take-away from that trip was that I needed to be on Twitter," added Ducote, a medium he wasn't familiar with at the time.

"It was insightful to hear strategies for making the most out of the Internet," said Elizabeth Gravette, a freshman majoring in animal science. "In one word, this event was helpful."

Thanks to Ducote's strategic approach to social networking, his easy-going demeanor, dry wit and creative chatter, and video and photography about food, BiteAndBooze.com is now reaching audiences worldwide. Ducote has become a guest author for several online and print publications and has had the opportunity to interview Raising Cane's owner Todd Graves, East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden and country music star David St. Romain, to name a few. His efforts have also enabled him to gain insider-access to LSU tailgating and travel to Alabama, all-expenses-paid, to cover restaurants on the Gulf Coast following the oil spill.

Dedicating close to 40 hours a week, Ducote said BiteAndBooze.com "is a full time job that isn't my full time job." He is still working a traditional nine-to-five job to pay the bills, yet he believes that the time he dedicates to BiteAndBooze.com "after-hours" will lead to the next big thing for him.

Ducote's advice to students: "Realize the power of networking … Communicate your ideas … Take advantage of social media … Put yourself out there … Do what you love, even it's for free in the beginning. That's how you turn your passion into your career."

Ducote's visit was sponsored by LSU CxC, a program supports students to improve their writing, speaking visual, and technological communication skills.