Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Random Highlights from Chicago Trip and Beyond

Filed under: Blogging, Living with a disability, Social Media — by Glenda at 10:36 pm on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Late last Thursday night I finally made it home after a good yet long week away in Chicago and then Fort Wayne, Indiana. Since getting home, things have been crazy; four trips to Toronto and one to Virginia are in my near future.

Here are a few random highlights while I finish unpacking my brain (before I need to repack it):

I did manage to score an iPad while in Chicago! A full review is coming soon. For now, I will say that, for me, the iPad works great as a communication device! In fact, it is life changing. The butterfly emerges a little bit further from her cocoon of silence.

Glenda Watson Hyatt riding the ferris wheelKaren Putz, Amy Derby and I braved Chicago’s winds and rode the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. With the seats enclosed like a gondola, being 150 feet in the air was not an issue. Being that high was a great vantage point for my first glimpse of one of the Great Lakes. My brand new iPad definitely aided in communicating with this duo, one of which is Deaf and the other is hearing impaired. Despite our three barriers in communicating, we had no shortage of topics to talk about!

Unfortunately, the anticipated karoke duet with Chris Brogan did not happen due to an accessibility issue. That story will be forthcoming. Nothing bad happens to bloggers; it’s all material!

I also attended this small event called SOBCon! I will share my takeaway lessons in yet another post. However, for me, SOBCon is more about interacting with the fellow attendees and friends rather than about the presentations, and having the iPad further deepened that interaction.

Glenda's scooter loaded in car trunkSunday, after the last SOBCon session and a quick trip to Batman’s bathroom (without incident this year!), my electric scooter was wrestled into the trunk of car. Oftentimes, what counts as accessible transportation is solely determined by the strength of the desire to get from Point A to Point B. Whatever works!

Deb Brown, Becky McCray and I were off to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a private retreat kindly hosted by Jon Swanson at his church. Paul Merrill also joined us.

Jon Swanson, Deb Brown, Becky McCray, Paul Merrill and Glenda Watson Hyatt gathered in Jon's office
(Photo credit: from Jon Swanson’s Flickr photostream)

A box of chocolate on the bed

The retreat was a time for brainstorming, sharing, asking questions and regaining focus – intense, amazing focus! And great friendships – all a result of blogging and Twitter. There was also time for teaching Glenda-ish, learning lemur calls and sipping first margaritas – critical skills when running a small business! And, of course, chocolate was also involved. A big thanks to Becky, Deb, Paul, Jon and Nancy Swanson.

That’s my week in a nutshell. How was your week?

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Up, Up and Away

Filed under: Blogging, Social Media — by Glenda at 11:18 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

street level view of Michigan Avenue in Chicago If everything has gone as planned, I’m now sitting on the plane, ready to take off. Chicago, here I come!

I’m off to Chicago for SOBCon2010: a conference for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers. Among other things, expected highlights will likely include a quick trip to the Apple store, a meeting with my friends Amy and Karen atop the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, plus, quite possibly, a karoke duet with Chris Brogan, which, hopefully, will not be YouTube’d!

I will share my adventures next weekend (I’ll be home late next Thursday night ). Until then, here’s a recap of last year’s trip to Chicago:

Make it an awesome week! :)

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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?

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Traditional Media versus Social Media Coverage of the Paralympics

Filed under: Living with a disability, Social Media, Vancouver Winter Games — by Glenda at 8:02 am on Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yesterday I was interviewed via email by CBC Radio about “Social Media and the Paralympics”. It was to air this morning on CBC’s Early Edition. However, my interview responses were cut from show, which raises a larger question about traditional media and representation of people with disabilities.

First, my written responses to the interviewer’s questions: 

How important is the role of social media in the Paralympic experience?

The role of the social media is crucial in the Paralympic experience. I have found that many people didn’t even know the Paralympics existed because traditional media do not cover the world’s second-largest sporting event. Social media is increasing awareness and building interest in these Games. Once people know about the Paralympics, they are wanting to know more, to see more; social media is filling the gap where mainstream media is failing.  Also, social media is also being used to put pressure on traditional media for more coverage of the Paralympics; for example, the Facebook page "Encourage CTV to Cover More of the Paralympics". Yesterday CTV announced it’ll air live the Closing Ceremonies across Canada. A result from the outcry via social media? Quite possible. Without social media people would experience very little of the Paralympics unless they are at the venues.

How does online help YOU experience the Games?

Social media has deepened my experience of the Games. I have tweetdeck open all day and am monitoring the hashtag #paralympics, so I get results from events immediately rather than needing to wait until the day’s highlights on CTV. I first heard of Brian McKeever’s gold in cross country skiing on Twitter. I also see photos from people’s experiences and links to blog posts and online news stories related to the Games. allows me to watch events that I wouldn’t see otherwise. Thanks to social media and online coverage I’m able to experience the Paralympic Games in a way I couldn’t relying solely on mainstream media coverage.

What’s the difference between social media during the Olympics vs the Paralympics?

The difference between social media during the Olympics and the Paralympics is there seems to be more focus on the athletes’ stories and the actual events, like what is ice sledge hockey and how does wheelchair curling differ from regular culling. There is definitely less coverage from the various pavilions , houses and other party-related events; no doubt because there are fewer. And, as I mentioned before, there’s an unified rallying voice for more coverage by traditional media. The social media has created a hunger, a market for the Paralympics.

Often in situations like this I would record a phone conversation and play it on air. From what I’ve read of your bio, I understand that we won’t be doing that, but I’d like to explain why. Would you mind telling be how you explain your ability to communicate, so I don’t make a mess of it?

Due my cerebral palsy, my speech is significantly impaired making verbal communication with those not well-versed in Glenda-ish futile. The written word is my most effective means of communication. Given enough preparation time I also use text-to-speech technology, although I use that mainly when giving presentations and speeches.

Despite my last response, I was not included in the story “Social Media and the Paralympics”. Yet, included were two local bloggers – Rebecca Bolwitt aka Miss604 and Andrea of 2010VanFan – and a professor from the School of Communications at Simon Fraser University (coincidentally I have a communications minor from SFU).

I can’t help but wonder if my responses were excluded because I am unable to do a phone interview, like the others did. My method of responding didn’t fit their format.

This raises a larger question: how much access or representation do people with disabilities, particularly those with significant physical disabilities, have in traditional media?

I mean, we’re talking about the world’s largest sporting event for people with disabilities and how traditional media provides minimal coverage, then traditional media cuts a well-known blogger with a disability from a story on how the social media is covering the Paralympics. WTF? What gives?

Social media is definitely more accessible to those of us with disabilities, enabling our otherwise marginalized voices to be heard for the first time in history.

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Breaking News: Interviewed by CBC Radio!

Filed under: Social Media, Vancouver Winter Games — by Glenda at 7:26 pm on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today I was interviewed via email by CBC Radio about “Social Media and the Paralympics”. Perhaps my post The Paralympics: Challenging Social Media to Respond Where Traditional Media Fails Athletes with Disabilities got their attention.

The interview, in some form, will air Thursday morning around 7:20 am (pacific time). You can catch it on 690 AM or 88.1 FM and online as a podcast.

Once the interview airs, I’ll post the questions with my responses here on my blog for those who couldn’t catch it and for my readers who are hearing impaired.


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