Saturday, February 18, 2012

Social Media and Disability Ministry

Earlier this month, Ruth Harrigan* (@rampracer) put up a post on WHEELIE cATHOLIC about our weekly  chat, inviting more involvement from people with disabilities. Ruth, who has been involved with #ChSocM from the get-go, made this observation:
"...although folks spoke about meeting the needs of seniors, widows, singles and divorcees, there was little, if anything, said about those with disabilities or illness and issues and needs they may want addressed in a pastoral context or via social media on relationship issues. I'm also noticing how absent folks with disabilities are in the group and am posting about it hoping that more show up... those involved in disability ministries have an opportunity to make an important impact."
I agree. PWD need to get more involved. People without disabilities need to understand what gets in the way of involvement. But even when physical barriers are modified or eliminated, cultural barriers persist. Can social media make a difference? I think so.

Because it blasts through conventional definitions of time, place, and space, social media expands opportunities for PWD to participate in -- everything, with or without disclosing the disability.

Slow to respond? Churches. Why is that? How could social media help transform ministry to the disabled and/or home bound? Are some social media tools better than others? How can our favorite tools be tweaked to make them more accessible? What online accessibility issues do church communicators need to know about?

To be continued! On Tuesday, February 21 at 9:00 PM (ET) we'll chat about using social media to change perceptions about disability and provide new ways to participate. Check out Ruth's Pinterest board about Disability and Faith Groups here. An excellent Religion & Ethics piece with video about Faith Communities and Disability here.

*Ruth and I have a long and fabulous history together. Learn more: Life As a Personal Aide.

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