Sunday, January 28, 2007

ChaCha! Try It!

Last night I tried out a search engine, ChaCha, that offers a unique social feature. You can ask and immediately get your own personal search guide who chats with you and helps you find the information you are seeking. I was looking for information about the migration of goldfinches in Texas. They come through in early spring every year, and I thought I saw some the other day, but it did seem early. I asked my new friend, who told me her name was Sandra, if she could help me find out if indeed my little feathered friends could be passing through this early. Of course I was also giving the service a test run, but the question was bonafide. I chose this question because I myself had not found exactly what I hoped for. The pages Sandra offered me were ones I had already seen, but that did not necessarily surprise me. I asked her if they ever so busy that they did not have enough representatives to meet demand at a given time, and she said that so far they had plenty of people. I enjoyed visiting with her and found the exchange to be pleasant. I would certainly not turn to this service unless I was faced with a very difficult question, but in that event I would give it another try. If you want to take a test drive, just go to

If you want personal attention, select the button on the right, “Search With Guide.” Someone should show up promptly to offer help!

PS About the goldfinches, I went low tech today. I put out their favorite treat, thistle seeds in a net “thistle sock” and hung it along with another feeder with sunflower seeds. Within minutes I had a busy mob of goldfinches and, thereby, my answer. I will post pictures to illustrate as soon as I upload.


  1. Hi! Found your blog via your post on the TLC listserv. I'm a high school librarian in Angleton.

    I love ChaCha. Being able to search with a guide is just like researching with a librarian. You get another set of eyes and thoughts and someone who can help you sort out the chaff.

    Ok..I might be biased--I'm one of the official guides for several topics. But I still go to it when I'm having trouble finding something on my own.

  2. I discovered cha cha earlier this fall because my son(who was just starting as a freshman in college) was acting as a guide on the site.

    So I have reminded students that the guides could be someone almost the same age and experience they are!

    Not that other students don't have expertise....but, users should be aware of that.