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tumblr – making sure we’re all part of online communities!

October 30, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 11.33.38 PMTumblr is like a mini-blog.   You can post more than you can post on twitter but usually not as much as you post on a blog.  It’s quite simple once you make an account, and it relies a lot on visuals and pictures so that’s good for people who are not readers or writers.

You can post photos, quotes, links to articles, links to videos and other things that interest you to your Tumblr account.   You use hashtags (they look like this #) to let people know what you are posting about.   When they search on that hashtag they find you, they can subscribe to your account, and then it becomes part of their Tumblr feed.   When they log on they will see what you’ve uploaded as part of a stream of uploads by everyone that they’ve subscribed to.   Some friends use tumblr as a way to keep in touch.   One friend who travels a lot always uploads his photos to tumblr so I can keep track of where he’s going.

So, if you search on google for “tumblr + disabilty” you get a feed like this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 11.21.44 PMToday, on that feed, one of the articles that interests me is from an account called Queerability.   If you click on their account name it takes you to their Tumblr page and you can read about what they are interested in.

If those things interest you as well, you can click on “follow” and then everything they upload will appear the next time you log on to Tumblr.

The article that Queerability posted that interested me is about employment and disability originally published in USA Today and says:

Only 21% of people with disabilities are either employed or actively looking for a job. Among those seeking work, the jobless rate was 13% in September 2013 compared to just over 7% for those without disabilities.

However, it also says that there is a “wage gap” for people with and without disabilities of about 20% – so, even when people with disabilities get jobs, they are often paid less than their non-disabled peers.

Some proposed solutions to cut the wage gap for disabled workers include more efforts by employers to raise awareness, improve management training and expand services and programs to accommodate employees with disabilities. Companies also should do a better job of measuring wage gaps involving their disabled employees, the researchers said.

“Employers need to be looking at wage gaps in their own workforce,” said Linda Barrington, executive director of Cornell’s Institute for Compensation Studies. “A lot of companies do that for gender, they do that for race, ethnicity. People with disabilities — and (the) pay gap for people with disabilities need to be included in every company’s checklist as they go through and say ‘do we have fair pay practices.’”

Given my interest in supported employment, that’s pretty interesting, and not information I’d run into before.   As well, because I am interested in leadership and people with intellectual disabilities, it is interesting to see that overall there are such gaps in positions of authority and in pay.

As of October 1st, 2013, tumblr hosted 139.4 million blogs and had posted 50.8 posts!   It reminds me of a bunch of pirate curators putting out information that you might otherwise miss.  People who have disabilities and are LGBTQI are rarely talked about so it’s good to know they have a tumblr account.

A thing people like or don’t like about tumblr is that it is really anonymous.   You choose a username but people don’t seem to give out their real names.   Another thing people like or don’t like is that businesses use it.  You can easily link a tumblr account to your other social media accounts so that your blog posts or other posts get sent to tumblr.   Some people in the social media world say you shouldn’t do this because you should have different audiences for each of your social media platforms, but I think that often in our field of disability supports having things linked together makes it possible to reach a wider audience more easily.

Do people with intellectual disabilities use tumblr?  It seems like they don’t.   A search on it leads to lots of examples of people arguing about the “r” word and some people talking about rights, but not many self advocates that I have found.   As usual, for me, this is a problem because an online community of nearly 140 million users has been created and folks we care about seem not to be present.

One easy way to connect is to connect your instagram account with your tumblr account – every time you upload a photo you can also click on “tumblr” and it will also upload there.

I like tumblr because it allows us to connect with people who might be interested in our social enterprises, Spectrum Press, or Spectrum Consulting, but mostly I like it because I think it is fun to see lots of different art and gardening and history, mostly as pictures, in a kind of collage or montage that sometimes is quite funny.   Lately I’ve been giving myself half an hour every night where I just kind of stroll through my tumblr feed to relax.

To end, here is a lovely passage by David Hingsberger which I remember hearing or reading a long time ago, which came up on tumblr when I googled tumblr + intellectual disability:

“I have told Noreen’s story in the form of a lecture a number of times. Invariably, someone comes up to me and says, “She can’t be retarded.” A flat statement. Usually, they then turn and walk away, discounting everything. As if what happened to her is then not relevant. Let me say that this attitude is bigotry, pure and simple. What is being said is that disabled people can’t be wise. What is being said is that wisdom is the domain of the privileged. White. Educated. Male. BUNK! Wisdom touches whomever it chooses. And it chooses all. If one takes a careful look at what Noreen knows, one will find a wisdom not contained in books, not taught in classrooms and not obscured by linguistic elegance. Yes, Noreen is wise. Yes, she is disabled. I fail to see the contradiction.”

Dave Hingsburger, I Witness: History and a Person with Developmental Disabilities

I bet we all agree that this is a passage we don’t want to lose from our history.

We all have vulnerabilities of some kind.   On tumblr as with all social media, make sure that people have safeguards in place.   There are some excellent tips on this Community Living B.C. site.     If you want to check out my tumblr feed it is   It is mostly a collection of art I like, quotes, links to articles and pictures of gardens.

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