In 2011, an Egyptian man by the name of Gamal Ibrahim named his firstborn daughter Facebook, after the famous social networking site. Surprisingly, this was not the result of an obsession with the web. Rather, it was an act of gratitude – Gamal wanted to honor the website for facilitating the protests of January 25, 2011 which ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Social media activism has come under fire for not being “real” action, disparagingly being called “slacktivism.” However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that social media activism iseffective. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’ have gained traction. Social media is a unique medium for activists and advocates because the playing field is even. In theory, anyone’s voice can be heard. Minorities whose voices haven’t been amplified in the past can now be heard globally in a mere instant. That includes the disabled.
While most people these days are on Facebook, Twitter is more apt for activism and advocacy thanks to two of its features. The first is the public nature of user accounts. The Twitter atmosphere encourages leaving your account ‘Public,’ so that anyone can see your tweets, instead of having to wait for you to accept their follower request. Whereas Facebook is designed to maintain existing social connections, Twitter is built around forging new connections. Allowing anyone and everyone to read your tweets increases your chances of being heard. The second feature is the hashtag, which started on Twitter and has since spread to other social networking sites. Hashtags are a pound sign, followed by a series of non-case sensitive letters and numbers until the first space or punctuation. When a hashtag is used in a tweet, it becomes a link to a page of other tweets that use the same hashtag. The hashtag provides a unique form of conversation that everyone can provide input to. I highly encourage you to try out hashtags if you haven’t already! Some good hashtags to try could be #disabilityor #MoebiusSyndrome.
There’s a lot that could be said about social media, but honestly? Seeing is believing. I think it’d be interesting to see what the Moebius Syndrome community can pull together.
It’s for this reason that I’d like to introduce a new hashtag: #MoebiusVoice. Is there something about Moebius Syndrome or the Moebius experience that you’d like to shout from the roof tops? Let the world know in a tweet using #MoebiusVoice!