Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Social Media Empowers Otherwise Silenced Voices: The Discussion Continues

Filed under: Living with a disability, Social Media — by Glenda at 12:07 am on Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I’ve been thinking about an earlier post in which I shared these 25 words about social media:

Social media gives voices to individuals marginalized and ignored by traditional media, enabling the world to hear these voices for the first time in history.

Some of the voices I have had the pleasure of hearing, which would not have been heard otherwise, include:

  • Jenna Lumbardt’s story: Jenna is a young woman with autism and who is non-verbal. She shares her story via an email interview, which is then shared on a blog. When else in history would her own voice, in her own words, have been heard?
  • Dave Hingsburger: I have had a professional crush on Dave since being involved with one project many moons ago. I read his blog when I need to hear another’s insight or the perspective of a fellow comrade in this daily battle for acceptance, accessibility and equality. This one video,  in which he shares his experience of witnessing abuse in an institution caring for people with disabilities, is particularly shocking and moving. Where in traditional media would you hear his powerful experiences and words without them being edited or spun a certain way?
  • Tom Rogers: I first discovered Tom on YouTube. He’s a young kid who has cerebral palsy and shares his knowledge and expertise with computer technology via his webcam while laying the floor. He is now also blogging, doing reviews and sharing his opinions on technology. When else in history could a kid in a wheelchair share his passion for computers with a loyal audience? This young guy is going places!
  • Ricky Buchanan: A still undiagnosed disability leaves her completely bedridden most days, yet she leads a very active life online. When else in history could an otherwise invisible (in the sense that she’s not out and about) member of society share her insights of living within four walls? (Watch for an interview with Ricky coming soon!)

This is quite an empowering time for many and, because these voices are now being heard, others are becoming enlightened and aware of people with disabilities.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. How has this shift in media and hearing (or being heard) for the first time these previously marginalized voices impacted you?

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Keith Hosey

April 14, 2010 @ 7:23 am

Hi Glenda,
once again you are so on point. In the last week I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact that for the 2nd month in a row, Facebook has seen more web traffic than Google. Basically, we as internet users are sharing more than we’re searching. If you want a good caterer, would you rather ask your friends and your extended network or randomly search the web for one? In real life, we share our experiences we have at businesses with our networks… “that new pizza place is really bad.” Now that the internet is becoming more social, the same is happening with our online networks.
If I have a good or bad experience with a business, I now shout (or kindly “share” with those listening) it out into cyber space to my friends/followers on twitter/facebook and maybe hashtag it to catch more people with my opinions… instead of (or maybe along with) the five real people in the lunchroom that day. Historically disenfranchised groups everywhere now have a greater voice than ever. It is wonderful and powerful.

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