Accessibility in social media

Depending on the disability, different media are in demand on the internet. Blind persons prefer to exchange information via mail, deaf persons use Skype or other video services for their sign language videos, others use forums or chats. Services like Facebook, InstaGram and Twitter have leveraged this a bit, as you can post anything here: News, videos and photos. The network effect means that the old media are losing popularity, although they are still used. One advantage of the large networks is that non-disabled persons can easily be reached here. Mailing lists of blind persons, for example, are unattractive for sighted persons - and not only for them.

Disabled persons are now very strongly represented on the social web thanks to smartphones and mobile internet. In principle, there is not much difference between this and the use of the web by non-disabled persons. Web 2.0 is used to maintain contacts, for self-expression or for information.

But there is more: Facebook is the home of countless self-help groups. There are general groups where persons with disabilities exchange information, for example, about care or the severely disabled ID card. And there are groups on individual disabilities or diseases such as blindness, multiple sclerosis or diabetes.

As a result, many specific online forums are less frequented. A curiosity is that these forums have granted a certain degree of anonymity - most persons there are using pseudonyms and symbol photos, whereas on Facebook it is mostly real names and photos of the persons. Apparently, most users are not aware of this problem. If you run such groups yourself or offer other exchange possibilities, I recommend including a corresponding note in the disclaimer.

Self-help works better the more persons participate, which is why there is a creeping loss of online forums in favour of Facebook. If you don't get an answer in a forum within a day, sooner or later you will turn away from it.

Consumption and exchange are only two aspects of the social web. There are also numerous blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels and more where disabled persons produce their own content. This is often about disability, but not always. Disabled persons share their own experiences and reach a sometimes considerable audience far beyond the disability circles.

Online Editing and Content Accessibility