CATEGORIES: Community Life, Technology
By Guest Blogger Megan Totka, Chief Editor, ChamberofCommerce.com
Living with any disability can feel pretty isolating at times. The world does not seem built for people with physical or emotional disabilities; it can also feel like even the people who care about you the most simply do not understand your day-to-day struggles. Thanks to advanced social media technology, however, living with a disability can feel less lonely.
Social media can be an effective way for anyone to socialize and network for a career, but can be especially powerful for people with disabilities. If you think that social media is simply a way to waste time, you should rethink your stance. For people with disabilities, social media can be especially helpful with:
Brand building. Around 15 percent of people with disabilities in the workforce are self-employed, compared with only 10 percent of the rest of the workforce. Small business owners can make the most of social media to highlight their products and services and marketing on these platforms is inexpensive or free. Even if you work for someone else, having a social media presence is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field which will help your career long term.
Self-information. By following reputable blogs and websites through social media, you always have access to the latest news about the things that interest you. This is also a great way to keep up on your industry and any legislation or news that pertains to living with a disability. You can stay schooled in what matters to you and have all the information in one central spot.
Like-minded networking. Perhaps you are the only person in your circle of family and friends that lives with a disability, or one of a very few. There are online groups and forums where you can talk about your health and seek advice and camaraderie from people who really do understand. You may find that your closest allies are people who you have never actually “met,” but become part of your journey with a disability.
Disability awareness. Using social media is also an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about the issues people with disabilities face on a daily basis. Through the normal course of social media activity, you can shed some light on what life is like with a disability and helpful resources. This does not have to mean constant activism or bold statements every time you log on. You can raise awareness in the form of everyday photos, status updates or even the links that you share from others. Family, friends and acquaintances can learn a little more about what life is like with a disability through your social media posts.
Smart use of social media also is a great way to network professionally and personally. Don’t be intimidated by the world of online socialization; look for ways to better your life through its use. Jump right in and find ways for social media to empower you, whether directly related to your disability or not.
How about you? What is your favorite way to network online?
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.