Bravo To The Blogosphere!

Two weeks after making my first blog post here I’m still adjusting to the vastness of the blogosphere, and seriously considering making Google BlogSearch my start page, rather than good old fashioned google.

I didn’t even realise google had a specific tool for searching for blogs until I read this post and I’m glad I did!

Thinking about it, a lot of the stuff I search the web for is info/ideas/thoughts produced by people rather than, say, a telephone number or details of a particular product: when I do want static information like phone numbers, I’ll go to the organisation in question’s website and find out there (unless their website is very inaccessible/unusable, in which case I’ll make google search their website).

Take one example web search which I do from time time, and have been doing for several years. I’m visually impaired, and a wheelchair user. For various reasons I’ve often wanted to search for other VI wheelchair users or for information about them/us. I can’t remember specifics from the past, but let’s just say I’ve had no success in finding what I want relating to VI wheelchair users using google.

One of the difficulties is how to word the search. We have the old problem of how people describe themselves: blind? visually impaired? wheelchair user? wheelchair bound? paraplegic? And so on. But I have to find some way of putting a complete label in quotes – if I search for something like blind “wheelchair user” or “visually impaired” “wheelchair user” I get lots of disability related websites with info relating to blind/visually impaired people, and to wheelchair using people, but not to blind/visually impaired wheelchair using people.

So I settle on searching for “blind wheelchair user” or “visually impaired wheelchair user”. It’s impossible for me to replicate my original problem because I’ve recently got a gmail account and enabled web history, and from experimenting just now I think the web history feature is improving my google search results. But until I used the google blogsearch, I hadn’t found, for example, someone simply mentioning/talking about being a blind wheelchair user. A real live one! Like me! This is very significant for me – there are issues specific to blind/VI wheelchair users which just can’t be picked up on/tackled without putting the blindness/VI element and the wheelchair using element together. And the last few times I’ve tried, using google, or looking on sites such as freelists to find any communities/lists/forums dedicated to those people/issues I just couldn’t find any.

My experimentation during this post is making me as much a fan of google’s web history as I’m becoming of their blogsearch. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to unpick which searches led to which refinements, but it is certain that I only first found the above mentioned blog with google blogsearch, and that my searches for “blind wheelchair user” and “visually impaired wheelchair user” with plain google are bringing more and more relevant results each time I do them.

Hurrah! I really am pleased – dare I say it, even excited – about this: trawling through links which are sponcered, leading to yet more price comparison sites or just generally useless was becoming the norm. This blogging/blogsearch malarkey is beginning to reignite the enthusiasm I had for the internet’s immense power when I first started using it nine years ago.


2 Responses

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere, Catherine!

    It’s always good to have another voice here.

    Best Regards,


  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Seasoning

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