August 15, 2020

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How Social Media is usable for Persons with Disabilities

A long time ago, I used to work with an organization working on the right of persons with disabilities. There, I saw passionate individuals most of them with some disability, eager to work on technology to assist persons with disabilities. Technology has been long been in use to assist anyone who needs it the most. Assistive technologies have made persons more independent as it compensates for some impairments. 

The integration of persons with disabilities into the mainstream is important. They need to be part of the process. Social media is one such integration tool. With the advent of modern science, life has become much easier. Technology has been used widely now is routine life to assist life. Keeping in view, the special needs of persons with disabilities, social media platforms offer particular features to integrate them all. 

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Social media platforms offer a variety of services for their users. Above all, it has made connectivity easier. Whether you want to get in touch with old friends or find new ones, social media has it all. Let’s see how persons with disabilities can take advantage of social media services. 

Written Communication 

One of the obvious features is communication in written format. All social media apps have text as one of the main attributes. Almost everything is written. Even a video or a graphic has a caption where a written description is given. For those who can read and write, it is the handiest form of communication. Persons with hearing impairment are the ones who are taking advantage of the written language. It helps them to communicate with the online world. 

That is why users are encouraged to give written descriptions to all their work in case a person with a particular disability is accessing your post. This would make it easier for them to understand what you are trying to convey. Written words would mean it reaches all types of audiences. 

Similarly, persons with visual impairment can get to listen to the text by using the reading feature of their smart devices. 

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Audio/Video Presentation 

Audio/Video Presentations are very popular on social media. They tend to explain better than text as the famous saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Whether it is for personal or public use graphics, infographics, audio, and video is used all across the board to attract the audience. 

Persons with disabilities make use of this feature, to connect with ease. If sign language is included in videos, persons with hard of hearing are easily able to understand the video as it can translate the audio into sign language. Similarly, if audio is adequate, low or no vision persons take benefit of the audio to comprehend the video. 

Music or no music, better audio description, and clear sign language not only adds value to the post but can also win more audience. 

Virtual Socializing 

Persons with limited movement find it hard to go out and socialize. The reason being not every place is made accessible. For some, movement is just not possible without assistance. Social media apps are available in abundance. All of them offer a specific niche. So either you want to reconnect with friends, family, or find new friends social media has made it possible without leaving your home. For wheelchair users or persons with limited movement, this the best feature social media has to offer. Without leaving the comfort of their homes or by putting themselves in the difficulty of going to hardly accessible places. Persons with disabilities can easily set up virtual social parties and gatherings through social media apps. All they have to do is become a user of the apps. 

With the pandemic, almost all of us are homebound. Social networking is just not possible. In a way, we all have become disabled to some extent. So it is now become a common practice to connect with others through technology. 

Issue-based Advocacy 

Advocacy refers to supporting an idea or ideology, person, or group of persons. There are many right-based groups and people who are talking about various causes, recruiting people to join those causes, converting online advocacy to offline meetings, and vice versa. Social media is becoming famous to talk about rights in terms of educating people, accessing rights, and trying to make the world a just place to live. 

There are still many areas where persons with disabilities are not given their due share in the world. Persons with disabilities are rightly using social media to talk about their rights. Geographically scattered people are coming together in virtual spaces for a cause and a world-wide movement is taking the place of traditional approaches. 

Self Promotion 

Whether you are an individual with a unique talent or someone who runs a business. Social media is for you to take advantage of to promote yourself or your business. Persons with disabilities are equally taking advantage of this platform. I have seen many disability organizations using social media to promote their work, many use it to run businesses. You can buy Instagram Likes UK for your self-promotion on Instagram. 

While it is difficult for a disabled person to run a shop in less accessible Bazar. As the shop arrangement, stocking, dealing with customers all need much movement. Social media marts are easy to handle in terms of promoting your products, taking orders, and arranging for a shipment to customers. A warehouse-type setup but professional photography of products and marketing strategies can do wonders. 

We are coming to a world where intelligence supersedes the rest of the human attributes to become an integral part of the fast-moving economies. Social media is just another assistive technology paving way for the disabled to merge into the societies they live in.