As many of us know, social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow users to connect and share ideas. What we might not have considered is the impact these platforms can have on those with disabilities. Of course, as I have stated in the past,  the networks reduce isolation by offering members the opportunity to connect with family and friends. More recently, however, these tools have established methods for larger groups of people, who share similar interests or needs to collaborate.

Take, for example, the virtual bulletin board known as Pinterest. A somewhat newcomer to the world of social networks, Pinterest serves as a place to post images and ideas from around the web. One of my first additions to the site, when I became a member earlier this week, was to create an Endless options board where I will be tacking up disability related news and images. In my very brief examination of the site thus far, I have located boards related to advocacy, the rights of people with disabilities and more. Still, one of the most useful aspects of the site, in my opinion, is the fact that I can post from around the Internet.

With this function, whether I want to share an event from an area non-profit or an update from a federal agency on disability law, I will be able to do so. As another nice feature, each post on the board is accompanied by an image. This allows followers to quickly determine whether or not the topic is of interest and then move on to reading the text. Should you want to stay organized as you search the web for an accessible vehicle, Pinterest lets you store the images you like in one place. In need of a new wheelchair? Research models online and save the pictures to share with a vendor later. Think of it as a virtual file cabinet of things you like.

I should point out that Pinterest does place a limit on the text that can be used per post. Thus, if you prefer reading details, you might like to join a Facebook group or LinkedIn network, such as those set up for participants interested in Cerebral Palsy or the employment of the disabled.

Overall though, I find social networking a great way to distribute the information I publish and that I receive from other sources. I encourage anyone interested to join the conversation and connect with me via these sites. My contact information is located at the end of this post. Have you used Pinterest or other sites? What are your favorite features and why? For those who live and work in the disability community, do you find social networking useful as a method of information sharing? Why or why not?

Source: Star News Online

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