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Disabled Voices Online: Interview with Tracy from the blog Confessions of a DeafBlind Mother

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We’re back with another of our disabled voices online interviews. This week we’ve Tracy Stine, a deaf blind mother and blogger determined to educate the world about deafblind people and help those who are deafblind.

Tracy Stine is a blogger and also makes videos. You can find her at her website:

www.deafblindconfessions.com

What inspired you to start your website?

I originally started it as a free blog to share stories with family and friends back home on what was happening with us.

How did you come up with the name Confessions of a Deafblind Mother?

An online friend wrote a book called “Confessions of a Lipreading Mom” so I changed it to fit me.

How did you find the accessibility of the initial set up of the website?

I used several sites before I settled on Weebly.com as they’re drag and drop layout, meaning you click on an element Title, Text, Photo and drag it to where you want it on the page and drop.

How do you find the accessibility of the regular running of the website?

Like I mentioned, the drag and drop option is easy for me to use even with a magnifier option on my laptop. It’s a little tricky at first as the magnifier wants to go all over, but you get the hang of how much to move the mouse.

How do you promote your website?

I have a Facebook page for my website, Twitter, Youtube and recently Instagram. I also joined different websites like DeafRead that will automatically share my posts. I used to do DVTV, but they’ve become nothing but gossip boxes.

What advice would you give to other deafblind people who are interested in starting a website?

Do it for your own enjoyment first. If you’re in it for “attention” etc, then you’ll get burned out quickly. There are a lot of How-To articles on setting up websites, how to write, how to find topics, etc. Learn as much as you like.

You make videos for your Youtube channel and for your tutorials. What is your process for making videos? How do you accessibly achieve this?

First I jot down ideas that pop up in my head so I don’t forget them later. Then I write/type out a rough transcript of what I want to do. I used to have a video camera and then just insert the chip into the laptop to download. But camera got stolen out of our truck a while back. So I use an iPad, edit it in iMovie and then directly upload to YouTube. In Youtube I then add subtitles from the transcript. It can get tricky if you’re fully blind.

What advice would you give to other deafblind people who are interested in? making videos?

You don’t need expensive equipment. Just a phone or tablet or webcam will do. Just find a spot without a busy distracting background and tape away. You then can just edit the beginning and the ending where you are turning on or off the video (that’s what I do). Keep it simple and just act like you’re talking to one person.

What feedback have you had about the website?

I’ve had people thank me because they were looking for that information for their parent who’s losing their vision, to others feeling “inspired”. Don’t worry about the negative feedback, that just reflects the person themselves than reflecting you.

What has the experience of running a website taught you?

It’s a continuous learning experience, whether it’s how to improve page layout to how to get more traffic to the site. I use Pinterest to find different articles to learn that way.

You publish guest posts. What inspired you to advertise for guest posts and how do you feel they impact the blog? How have you found the experience of working with guest bloggers?

I wanted guest posts as I was running out of ideas myself and thought I could help new writers out as well. At first I took any writer on any topic, but finding out that they’re too many DIY projects and I felt that it was making my site lose its focus so I created guest post guidelines on what I was accepting and being more strict about what I wanted to print instead. Most guest bloggers contacted me through my email or contact form. They’re easy to work with as I just sent them my guidelines and then they send back an article that they think will fit and I just accept or request revisions.

You put advertisements on your blog. How have you found the experience of seeking advertisements and do you find that the advertisements support the blog?

I join affiliate sites like Amazon Associates, LinkShare, and such. The past several years I haven’t had any luck with them, so I’m studying on how to improve affiliate links and make them work.

How do you feel the internet helps deaf blind people?

It’s opened up a lot of information for them. It used to be limited through contact with friends or family only, but now many DB can access the internet and keep up with News, learn things, chat with friends, etc.

How do you think the internet could be improved to better help deafblind people?

More captioned videos, more transcripts available, I just did a post on it recently.

http://www.deafblindconfessions.com/blog/how-your-companys-website-is-costing-you-potential-customers

What other blogs by deafblind people would you recommend?

https://dbcitizens.org/blog/

http://dotbug3.blogspot.com/

These are what I can find. There aren’t very many out there.

Do you do anything else online aside from your blog? If so, where else can we find you online?

I work online as an ASL tutor for SignOn Connect http://www.signonconnect.com

and soon will be their blogger as well.

You can find Tracy Stine at her website:

www.deafblindconfessions.com

Find her on Twitter @DBConfession

Find her on Facebook at:

https://m.facebook.com/confessionsDB/

Find her on Youtube at:

https://www.youtube.com/user/RustyCyot

Thanks to Tracy for being interviewed.

Have you read Tracy’s blog or watched her videos? Which of Tracy’s posts have you enjoyed? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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