5 Reasons why you need Twitter if you're blind or partially sighted

29 August 2014

Social media is doing more than simply bringing disabled communities together. We discover why Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are must-haves for anyone with sight loss

If you thought communicating in 140 characters was a fad for the fickle, think again. We all need to embrace social media if we want to keep up with news, friends and career opportunities, says Paul Springer, author of Pioneers of Digital. Putting some accessibility issues aside (for now), we look at the benefits of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for people who are blind and partially sighted.

1. Connect over hobbies, not your disability

Whether it's your addiction to The Great British Bake Off or love of cats in costumes, 'Twitter allows you to bond with like-minded people over hobbies and interests, rather than just your disability,' says Springer. 'You can meet people like you, but your disability isn't the focus.'

2. Share news, accessibly

Getting hold of accessible, large print and braille formats of magazines and newspapers used to be a long, drawn-out process. Now, with the help of news feeds, you can read stories using readers or magnifiers at the click of a button as soon as news hits the press.

3. Fight for a cause

Three words: Ice Bucket Challenge. Social media can be an incredible source for raising awareness for a campaign. 'Research shows that political or charitable causes have the biggest impact of all,' says Springer. So if you feel strongly about a movement, social media is a pretty effective way to shout about it.

4. Keep up with technology

From Smart Glasses to FingerReaders, assistive technology is developing all the time and most of the latest information can be found being shared virally via online networks. Joining technology communities means you're in the know and it could make a difference to your everyday life.

5. Improve your employability

The clue's in the name, social networking is a great way of meeting potential employers and increasing your employability. What's more, you can network on a level playing field. Needless to say, get yourself on LinkedIn, market your skills and start harnessing the power of social.

Our 2016 technology accessibility event in Glasgow, Scotland takes place on 15-16 September. For tickets or more information, go to our Techshare page.

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