Are you all in on social media ,— a presence on every platform and no I don’t just mean for work — or has it all just been too much so you stopped using it that often? As a millennial, like you, I grew up with it and learned to use technology and as a result social media because knowing how to do so at the time just seemed like a way of life. Growing up I thought I understood social media, but it wasn’t until my time studying marketing that I realized I had much to learn specifically about the business aspects of this medium of communicating. Nonetheless it wasn’t until I started this blog and spent more time talking with people on social media that I saw the impact technology and social media have on connecting people in the disabled community.
This week’s blog post is a follow up to Vol.3 of A Wheelchair Girl’s Perspective: People With Disabilities In The Workplace During The Pandemic & Beyond. Instead of just mentioning the workplace, I wanted to talk about technology and social media and the impact that they have had on me as a part of the disability community and possible impacts it could have in the future.
The ways in which we apply technology to our daily lives is constantly growing and changing and still the pandemic and all the changes we have made to stay safe challenged what we thought we could do with technology. We figured it out though and we’re moving forward.
Is it really forward though or is it back to normal? If it is the latter, what does that mean for people with disabilities?
The Business Of Technology & Social Media: It Can Help?
As someone who grew up with technology and social media then studying marketing, I thought I understood for the most part how it impacts our lives, but I never really took the time to consider the impact it could have on my life as a woman with a disability or the disability community in general. I know I may sound like a broken record when I say this particularly because I’ve mentioned it in a few other posts, but I was not prepared for the way my disability would affect my job prospects. I didn’t know about the opportunities that were virtual, specifically the volume of them. Learning that and applying earlier was something I wish I’d done, but then again I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Years ago when I first started on social media, years before I began my blog, I wasn’t using it often. The internship that I landed taught me so much about the way in which I could social media, it challenged the ways in which businesses could use technology and social media to help them succeed. However, although I started to think more out-of-the-box, I still didn’t consider how it could help me as a wheelchair user, something that journey of blogging has opened my eyes to, leading me to start The Sitting Beauty Diaries.
Social Media: So Much More Than Business & Simple Personal Use For People With Disabilities
I won’t repeat to much of what I’ve said in other posts, nevertheless, during the time I started doing research to see if there was room for a blog like this, I’d already been a part of Facebook groups, thanks to friends telling me about them where I saw, gave, and received advice from others in the disabled community, social media, at that point was more to me than staying contact with friends or family and connecting with businesses for customer service reasons, it gives you a place to talk to others who understand a specific aspect of your life and can give resources to navigate it.
When the pandemic first hit, we weren’t sure how we would move forward while staying safe, but we figured it out There were video calls, work or attend school from home options, and virtual events or fundraisers. There are more food delivery services as well. We challenged the way we used technology because we had to because the world had to, but where were these changes when people with disabilities were asking for some of these changes to aspects of life years, it was not possible then Why is that? I think it is best said by this Instagram Reel by JociScott. Click the link below to watch it.
The pandemic is still here, there are some people who think we are going back to normal after all the vaccines are distributed, people will be hugging, eating out, watching movies in theaters, going to concerts and last but not least once again. If you had asked me a year ago or three months ago if there would be such a thing as going back to normal I would have no, we are moving forward, keeping the changes we made with technology and moving forward, but now I think going back to normal is exactly what’s going to happen. If that does indeed happen, where does it leave all the people with disabilities who have had new opportunities because of the new ways we are using technology?
As a person with a disability, I live in a world that’s not designed for me. However, changes even small ones can make a huge difference. Yes, the world is slowly becoming safe again, but does that mean we can’t keep using some of the technological changes we made? Technology, I’ve learned, can be applied to help us keep moving forward in many ways, there are times we won’t know what that is until we need it, but once we find out are we really not going to use it if it still applies?
When I was in college, one of the aspects of a paper I had to write required us to posit where we would be in 25 or 50 years as a society in regards to the subject of the assignment, for this post, I hope that in 25 years we do move forward, virtually school and job opportunities are both common options. I hope that the world will be more accessible, that airlines and their employees will treat those traveling with disabilities better because it will be as common as the millions of people flying every day.
I hope that technology doesn’t just advance when there is a crisis, but advances on the basis of making the lives of people better. I could go on and on, but this post would be never-ending so let me just say, these aspects would be a great start.