I have been on Facebook for nearly six years. I have noticed that to some extent, it evens the playing field. Let me explain.
I use an augmentative communication device and it takes a significant amount of time to respond during conversations. People who really know me know to wait, however, people who don’t understand tend to get impatient. It’s a frustrating element of using a communication device. However, on social media networks such as Facebook, that barrier disappears.
On Facebook, I can message people and comment at my own speed. People aren’t looking impatiently. I can get everything I want to say to be heard without people guessing. Most importantly, I have privacy from people who don’t necessarily have to hear the conversation such as personal care attendants. Most adults or teenagers who are disabled have minimal amounts of privacy. Facebook can give them that sense of privacy. I am not suggesting that a teenager should have complete privacy on Facebook, however, an adult can use Facebook to have private conversations without other people being or feeling excluded.
Social network sites can provide a window into the life of a person with a disability. Emma Tracey, a podcaster for Ouch Podcast who is blind says, “I tend to tweet things which might make other non-disabled people think. If I was out with the dog and there was a car on the pavement I’d write that I had to walk on the main road, which everyone understands is very dangerous when you can’t see” (www.bbc.co.uk). As you can see, social networking can help us people with disabilities advocate for themselves.
As you can see, all types of social media help people with disabilities. This video shows how people with disabilities and people who are elderly can connect with people they would not have otherwise.
I encourage people with disabilities to be present on Facebook and Twitter for multiple reasons—especially for their own privacy and self advocacy. If you are just beginning to use social media, please “Like” us on Facebook or follow Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region on Twitter.
To “Like” us on Facebook, go to: http://on.fb.me/Te2loa
To follow us on Twitter, go to: www.twitter.com/eastersealsdfvr