The Social Internet as Social Assistive Device

August 19th, 2009 | by dnw |

The social web offers a means of engagement that trascends the technology and transforms lives.

Strangely or not, I tend not to see myself as disabled. Maybe that’s why I tend to focus on sharing more about what I’m doing than who I am or what I think about disability specific things – whatever those are.

It’s possibly also why when I refer to people with a disability I use the term people ‘living’ with disability. After all, tha’s what I’m doing. It’s also the focus I put on the possibilities technology can and does offer to enrich that ‘living’.

Besides which, I’m just a practical sort of guy.

I’m not the best at conveying what I feel either about what runs deep and not most elequant expressing what I really believe.

Sure I’ve had my lucid moments on issues I’m passionate about, which you’ll find within the years of posting here, and on my other blog – like Social Isolation, Co-presence and Barriers. Generally though words get in my way. Thankfully others don’t have the same problem.

Just recently I came across a post by Lauredhel titled “On ambient intimacy and assistive devices” that had me saying “yes, yes, yes; that’s what I wanted to say to so many people so many times”.

In part she writes about being social …

The internet is the virtual watercooler (or coffeehouse, or playgroup, or pub) for people like me, isolated due to disability. And I’m fed up with able-bodied folk slamming electronic community as a meaningless half-life. I’m sick of internet use being constructed as a signifier of a person as a pathetic loser worthy of mockery. And I’m over ignorant pundits reviling the rise in electronic community as The End of the World as We Know It, a one-way highway to the inevitable disengaged, apolitical fragmentation of society.

And in an analogy to physical assistive devices… ”

People who use wheelchairs, for example, use wheelchairs. They get around in them. Wheelchairs are useful, value-neutral objects. People are not “bound” to them; they’re not “condemned” to life in a wheelchair. The use of a wheelchair doesn’t mark a person as either a sinister or pitiable caricature. And above all, people are not synonymous with their wheelchairs. They’re people who use a mobility device, a tool. (emphasis mine)

The internet may be many things, but it is also my social assistive device. And that’s not tragic, or threatening, or worthy of scorn. It just is.”

Do yourself a favour and read the whole thing on her blog “Hoyden About Town

Thanks Lauredhel. This so underlines why I have felt strongly for nearly 30 years about technology as a tool in general, why I think the connection and openness that a social web enables is important and points to why I keep persisting with the idea that is Lifekludger.

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  1. 2 Responses to “The Social Internet as Social Assistive Device”

  2. By lauredhel on Aug 19, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for the link – and I’m glad you linked, because it made me discover your blog!

  3. By dnw on Aug 19, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for your comment and your writing on your blog. Continue fightin the fight. I’ll be watching.

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