Discovering social media with Deaf people
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
You use social media to keep those around updated to your day-to-day activities. You use apps to enable for yourself an independent lifestyle. If you are a business owner, you use social media for marketing endeavours. If you are a blogger, you look to inspire. The takeaway here is that we have used social media in overarching ways but for the Deaf and hard of hearing, social media has been used for more than just its traditional ways.
The digital age of today has revolutionised the use of social media in more ways than one. For the Deaf community in particular, social media is and has been always a significantly transforming tool for communication. This part of the community has been subjected to social isolation all too often owing to communication barriers and this platform has significantly helped bridge this gap for them to build meaningful relationships, to connect with those struggling through a similar journey, and for other pieces of information.
In our exclusive society of today, the Deaf do not enjoy the same privileges of passively obtaining information in a similar way the hearing do. The increasing trend of social media in business, entertainment and technology called for an informative session focused on understanding this platform better.
In line with this view, IBA students led by Mr. Sami Shakeel under a Corporate Governance Project, partnered with KIA Motors and ConnectHear to conduct a session on Discovering Social Media. The aim of this project was to help the Deaf maximise their experience and to introduce them to tools that could further enable their engagement.
“KIA believes in inclusion and its vision is to invest in ideas which strengthens the quality of life by mentoring people at all levels,” says the COO for KIA Lucky Motors Pakistan Limited, Mr. Muhammad Faisal.
Faisal suggested to align ourselves with the cause of empowerment so that we can move forward with a sustainable future. “Not only is it important to develop mindsets, but it’s also imperative to be a part of the incentive to create a knowledgeable, independent, and self-sufficient economy,” he added.
Social Media has always been a powerful tool to disseminate information to Deaf individuals, and for them to find community organisations and advocacies that dynamically empower their cause. The session was divided into two, where the first session was led by Ms. Anmol Zehra focusing on Facebook business and growth, and the essential tools to run a business online. This was followed by Mr. Ata Rehman Zaki who led another session on privacy tools.
The duo focused on informing the individuals on the hidden features of social media, the impact of social networking on their career, on how they could use this platform to create their online professional identities, and use it to build and promote their businesses. More than 50 Deaf individuals gathered and got the opportunity to learn how to run a group or a small business page on Facebook.
In addition to this, they learnt how to keep their account and themselves secured with the various privacy tools usages. The excessive sharing of personal information being made available online renders the added threat of privacy issues. Keeping this in mind, we addressed issues on data thefts and the appropriate use of technology-based communication to protect their data and target information to the preferred audience.
Hearing loss has made communication for this part of the community terribly difficult; by making this information session accessible to the Deaf, we are trying to inhibit the social isolation they have been projected to for most part of their lives. Keeping in mind that social media has turned things around for the Deaf audience, we have made available for them more ways to connect with online communities, participate in visual communication all while protecting their information in cyberspace.
“Attending this event has been extremely valuable and rewarding for me. I learnt new and exciting things about Facebook tools, cyber security, hacking and privacy details that I did not know much about before,” said Yawer, one of the attendees. “I would like to thank ConnectHear for their ongoing support and their interpreters who volunteered to make this event accessible for the Deaf community,” he told us.
Social media has helped this part of the community with more than what comes to the surface – be it in finding like-minded individuals, giving them the confidence to express their views, more favourable means of communication, mediating connections with the culturally hearing, and most importantly in advancing the cause of inclusivity.