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Disabled Voices Online: Interview with Deaf Girly from the blog Deafinitely Girly

You may recall that last year we started a blog series called Disabled Voices Online, where we found out about how people with different disabilities found the experience of creating online content and having an online platform.

Well, we’re back with a continuation of that series. Today we have an interview with a deaf lady who goes by the name Deaf Girly, who runs the blog Deafinitely Girly.

Deaf Girly tells the world about her life and her views on deaf related issues as well as raising awareness about deafness and the issues faced by the deaf community, on her blog Deafinitely Girly. You can check out her blog at:

http://www.deafinitelygirly.com/

What inspired you to start a blog?

I went to a job interview and part of the prep for the 2nd interview was to provide a dream column and so I dreamt up Deafinitely Girly. I enjoyed writing it so much that I decided to start blogging.

How did you find the initial set up of your blog?

Great, I used Blogger, which was easy to use and occasionally played with the layout to refresh it and things.

What gave you the idea for the name Deaf Girly?

I brainstormed with a friend and came up with Deafinitely Girly for the blog and then when Twitter came along, I shortened it.

Why did you choose to create a separate identity to use online? Do you feel it gives you more freedom to be honest online?

Yes. I like keeping my professional and DG life separate. It gives me room to be honest about how I feel about things, particularly employment.

How do you find the experience of running a blog: creating content, uploading it and so on?

I really enjoy it and I have enjoyed seeing it evolve since 2008 when I started and the trends of SnapChat, Periscope, Vine etc come and go. I’ve stuck with Blogger and Twitter as these two mediums suit me.

How do you promote the blog?

Mainly through Twitter and I have a daily outgoing email when I blog from my email address. I am also on BlogLovin and DeafRead.com (the aggregation site) put my stuff up there too.

What do you feel has gone well with the blog?

The opportunities it has given me, I’d never have had before. I’ve written for Hearing Times, National Deaf Children’s Society and Scope. I’ve addressed some tricky topics, such as employment, and I’m proud of the responses I’ve had.

What problems have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Sometimes just technical stuff on Blogger, it has a really weird habit of changing the font size for no reason. And sometimes it’s hard to find the time to blog. In the early days I blogged daily. Now it’s a lot less frequent but that goes hand in hand with me being in a better place about my deafness.

You have done some campaigning work. Tell me about how you found the experience.

I’ve done some stuff for the NHS. I met with Westminster Healthcare people and helped initiate pager systems in the NHS walk-in centres so that if you went there you didn’t need to hear your name being called. And in the early days I did a lot to shout about the lack of accessibility with TV and streaming subtitles. These are now a lot better than they used to be.

Do you do any other work online aside from your own blog?

I occasionally write for Hearing Times blog online.

What advice would you give to other people wanting to start a blog? Have you any specific advice for deaf people about starting a blog?

Just do it. Brainstorm the name with a friend or family member and check out the different platforms such as WordPress, Blogger and Wix and see which one you like best and then go for it! I think it’s always best to support a blog with Twitter as it’s a good way to promote it but also to find like-minded people. Think about what you want to achieve and what voice you want on your blog and maintain that. Keep it true to you.

What advice would you give to people who want to do campaigning? What specific advice would you give deaf people about campaigning?

Find out who you need to speak to and approach them politely. In the early days I used to shout and complain a lot but now I try and understand it first and get the company to tell me where they’re coming from. Most people do want to improve accessibility and it’s great chatting to them and having some input in how they could.

What other deaf blogs would you recommend?

DeafieBlogger is excellent. LimpingChicken is a great place to get a feel of what deaf writers are out there.

What do you like about the internet, in terms of accessibility for deaf people?

It replaces the phone in so many instances nowadays from ordering takeaways and taxis to booking restaurants and flights. So much can be done as a deaf person online.

How do you think the internet could be made more accessible for deaf people?

I would like more videos to have captions on big corporate websites, I would like compulsory online booking systems for all GPs surgeries, and I would like subtitles across ALL streaming TV services such as Sky GO, Now TV etc many are still not subtitled.

You can find Deaf Girly’s blog at:

http://www.deafinitelygirly.com

Also, here are a few more links to some of her writing elsewhere on the web:

http://www.hearingtimes.co.uk/community/83149/Deaf%20Girly%20and%20the%20Hearing%20Dog/Profile

http://www.hearingtimes.co.uk/Community/83045/Deaf%20Girlys%20Thankful%20Friday%20Column

https://blog.scope.org.uk/2014/05/29/deaf-girlys-end-of-awkward/

http://www.hearingtimes.co.uk/community/83222/Deafinitely%20Girly%20and%20the%20Gap%20advert

http://www.hearingtimes.co.uk/community/83237/Deafinitely%20Girly%20and%20the%20world%20of%20work/Profile

If you know anyone who is disabled and active online either running or being part of a blog, podcast, a youtube channel or some other online platform, please get them to contact the Aidis Trust and we will see about interviewing them for the series.

Have you read Deaf Girly’s blog? Which posts did you find particularly interesting? Please share your views in the comments below.

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