Social media and persons with disabilities

Social media has become a phenomenon that every human being in the planet cannot resist. Social media connects us with friends, family and co-workers even strangers all around the world. Social media affects us contagiously in our everyday life. My focus in this week discussion blog will discuss ways of social media usage in giving voices to marginalized groups, especially people with disabilities.

The work by social media designer has made technology and information is easier to be accessed by marginalized groups in our society and help people manage large networks for their advocacy, work, study etc. (Ellison and Boyd, 2013). There should more studies and research initiatives on how social media become the tool for individual with disabilities in their daily life, their behavior in virtual life, policies of government that encourage access to information for the group, and social media as alternative tool to give voice and representative to people with disabilities in decision making process. Social media as a new technology that re-shaping the landscape how disability advocates campaign on critical issues concerning disability. While digital social network designer continuously tap advantage and be innovative with Web 2.0 phenomena and CMC, the level of accessibility of social networking sites still need more investigations. While digital divide focusing on gap concerning social economy attributes, attention should also be given in gaps and inequality of access, use and knowledge of marginalized groups such as people with disabilities.  Social networking designers are encouraged to develop software and address technological constraints on social networking sites to enable easy access and improved usability of information technology of people with disabilities from diverse categories i.e.: blind, spine cord injuries, learning disabilities, deaf and hard hearing and other). Social network sites are said have helped people with disabilities with reducing feelings of isolation, simplifying access to important information, getting instant support and advice and even improving employability. While in (Nardi, et. al, 2004), explained how blogging becoming social activity in which blog is a form of object-oriented communicative activity and enacting a wide variety of social purposes. It is interesting to observe respondent behavior and attitudes in connecting to their social support (families and friends) and strangers, similar methods can be applied in understand behavior, attitudes, and online activities communication of people with disabilities across disabilities. All readings this week, even does not touch in particular concerning people with disabilities, but, open rooms in advocating disability right concerning cyber culture and cyber infrastructure.

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