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Expanding your interests: Using the power of social media

In this video, Beth Haller and Gerard Goggin talk about the usefulness of social media and technology in disability advocacy and activism.

In the above video, Beth Haller and Gerard Goggin describe the importance of social media in activism today.

As both Beth and Gerard point out, there is a huge range of ways in which social media is used to support grass-roots activism. Most importantly, social media gives many people, particularly those who are otherwise isolated, access to a global disability community.

In our own Australian context, we have seen the usefulness of social media in relation to the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS. The NDIS Grassroots discussion group on Facebook has been a particularly active platform for people around Australia to ask questions of peers about the new and changing funding landscape. It has become a useful way for people to gain knowledge and skills about how to advocate for themselves. While this Facebook page has a national focus on funding, there are many examples of when advocacy and activism have been taken online for very different reasons.

Beth suggests that social media enables people with disabilities and their allies to shape the media and policy discourses and police the actions of governments, organisations and individuals around the globe. On the other hand, Gerard cautions that technologies like social media are not themselves inherently good or bad and could be used for many different purposes, including to limit the rights of people with disabilities.

Talking points

  • Have you seen or engaged with disability activism or advocacy on social media? If so, please share your examples.
  • What do you think is particularly useful about disability activism or advocacy online?
  • How effective do you think social media is in terms of creating real change?
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