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Social media and disability rights activism:
Is online communication finally providing
‘liberating technology’?
Guest Pres...
Web 1.0
Social media benefits for people with certain
impairments
Deaf actress Marlee Matlin: “In Twitter
there were no barriers.”
Pinterest use by people with aphasia
Social media activism generally
• Using social media to coordinate group gatherings
• Assembling organized numbers of peop...
Activists harness social media because
that’s where people get their news
Pros & cons of social media news
Why Facebook matters to people with disability
Why New Mobility readers are using Facebook
National ADAPT leverages Twitter
ADAPT Twitter feed posts
• Pictures from ADAPT protestors and others
• Information about those arrested.
• Links to any me...
Tweets build a cross-disability
community
A May 3, 2011 tweet said:
“Remember that ADAPT fights for
all disabilities: phys...
ADAPT protest video makes it onto
CNN web page as iReport
ADAPT Minnesota continues the message
Disability Rights Education & Defense
Fund (DREDF) YouTube channel
Its YouTube channel has:
• Training videos, such as inf...
Social media use during natural
disasters: Nick & Alejandra
Alejandra’s Facebook post about their situation
Little Free Radical blog
Blog article that told Nick’s story
Nick’s thank you on Facebook
Boston’s 90.9 WBUR Tumblr about Nick
Neighborhood news source about
Sandy & people with disabilities
Commuter newspaper covers the issue
NPR Talk of the Nation story about Sandy’s
impact on people with disabilities
Science show NOVA focuses on the
people affected by Sandy
Disability media thoroughly covers
Hurricane Sandy
Inaccessible shelters in NYC
(Photos from 2011 from Hurricane Irene but nothing had changed for Hurricane Sandy.)
NY disability activist Mike Volkman says:
“What we are doing now with
Facebook really shows the true
potential of what the...
Social media is the way forward for
disability activism
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Social media & disability activism presentation - Curtin University, Perth, Australia

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Presentation given at Curtin University in Feb. 2015 as part of Beth Haller's participation in the Fulbright Specialist Program.

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Social media & disability activism presentation - Curtin University, Perth, Australia

  1. 1. Social media and disability rights activism: Is online communication finally providing ‘liberating technology’? Guest Presenter: Beth Haller, Ph.D., Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies, Towson University, USA Fulbright Specialist, Feb. 2015 bhaller@towson.edu
  2. 2. Web 1.0
  3. 3. Social media benefits for people with certain impairments
  4. 4. Deaf actress Marlee Matlin: “In Twitter there were no barriers.”
  5. 5. Pinterest use by people with aphasia
  6. 6. Social media activism generally • Using social media to coordinate group gatherings • Assembling organized numbers of people • Using social media to warn like-minded people about those who are against the group’s activist stance • Real time updates allows a group to adjust to any actions against it • Getting messages to people not directly involved but still interested in the activism • Enlist support and/or coverage from the news media and others around the world
  7. 7. Activists harness social media because that’s where people get their news
  8. 8. Pros & cons of social media news
  9. 9. Why Facebook matters to people with disability
  10. 10. Why New Mobility readers are using Facebook
  11. 11. National ADAPT leverages Twitter
  12. 12. ADAPT Twitter feed posts • Pictures from ADAPT protestors and others • Information about those arrested. • Links to any media coverage of protests. • Information so someone who wanted to participate but couldn’t be in DC could follow along. • People not in DC could even become active by calling the federal legislator in charge of the budget proposing the cuts via the phone # ADAPT tweeted.
  13. 13. Tweets build a cross-disability community A May 3, 2011 tweet said: “Remember that ADAPT fights for all disabilities: physical, dd, psychiatric, blind, deaf, autism, MCS, everyone. That is why we are here.”
  14. 14. ADAPT protest video makes it onto CNN web page as iReport
  15. 15. ADAPT Minnesota continues the message
  16. 16. Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) YouTube channel Its YouTube channel has: • Training videos, such as information helping parents understand the special education process and how to advocate for their disabled child • Disability rights history: “The Power of 504,” a short documentary video about the 1977 civil rights demonstration by people with disabilities that resulted in the first Federal Civil Rights Law protecting people with disabilities.
  17. 17. Social media use during natural disasters: Nick & Alejandra
  18. 18. Alejandra’s Facebook post about their situation
  19. 19. Little Free Radical blog
  20. 20. Blog article that told Nick’s story
  21. 21. Nick’s thank you on Facebook
  22. 22. Boston’s 90.9 WBUR Tumblr about Nick
  23. 23. Neighborhood news source about Sandy & people with disabilities
  24. 24. Commuter newspaper covers the issue
  25. 25. NPR Talk of the Nation story about Sandy’s impact on people with disabilities
  26. 26. Science show NOVA focuses on the people affected by Sandy
  27. 27. Disability media thoroughly covers Hurricane Sandy
  28. 28. Inaccessible shelters in NYC (Photos from 2011 from Hurricane Irene but nothing had changed for Hurricane Sandy.)
  29. 29. NY disability activist Mike Volkman says: “What we are doing now with Facebook really shows the true potential of what the Internet can do to transform our society. We are seeing changes that rival historically the invention of the printing press.”
  30. 30. Social media is the way forward for disability activism

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