I'll admit it. I'm addicted to my laptop, and to Facebook. I like to read what people are doing. I love that our whole neighborhood growing up reconnected. I posted our 2nd grade class picture - everyone found it - we all reminisced about elementary school. Facebook is addicting - I often spend too much time on it, aimlessly reading who is feeling lazy or old, and creating such entries myself.
This week we discussed social networking in a class I'm taking. And while people saw how things like Facebook allow people to completely waste as much time as they want, they also saw benefits - mostly professional.
What I have found is this: Facebook and other online resources are fantastic for people with disabilities (pwd). Networking for pwd has been documented - like this:
It is incredible. I have different circles of friends on Facebook, but pwd seem to be there in force. Maybe we're too tired to meet or something prevents us from meeting. I know I get exhausted and turn on Facebook as if I'm conversing with people. I find out about handcycle rides. My friends with disabilities join other sites and I join them too. All the info on Paralympics was there. People posted updates and photos of the Paralympics. Someone is doing an event and they let people know. Good links to articles are posted. We joke about things and I wonder if people who read the postings who do not have disabilities "get" the sarcasm we're tossing this way and that. Someone organizes a big ride and posts it as an event. So many of us are spread out, but we meet, and we begin to explore similaries (and differences). I tend to converse with people with spinal cord injuries, and a bit with people with MS. And if I have a question, I can reach out to someone via Facebook and I'll either get an answer, or get some resources.
Beyond Facebook, I'll find myself in the world of blogs. There are so many. Each one has an interesting point of view. They can be disease-specific, they can be religious, they can be non-disease specific, and on and on. And so it seems I then can make friends even across he globe.
I wish all the people I meet were right here. But they're spread everywhere, near and far. And we are brought together. And I wonder a bit about the phrase "where two or more are gathered" and worship. In a much different sense, can pwd who shift focus to religion somehow find their "two or more" gathering place online? So often, it seems a place where I find acceptance, understanding, and a sense of being together.
And yes, I still do need to close my laptop more often than I do :)