According to the Digital Buzz Blog, during a 24 hour period on the Internet approximately 294 million e-mails are sent, 2 million blog posts are written, , 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, and 4.7 billion minutes are spent on Facebook. Social media, like Facebook, has become a major facet of our society, connecting millions of people to each other and to those billions of bytes of information every day. For people with disabilities, social media may be an excellent tool to find and build substantial, supportive information networks.
In collaboration with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has embarked on an effort to make social media content accessible to all users, including people with disabilities. More and more organizations are using social media to conduct outreach, recruit job candidates, and encourage workplace productivity. But not all social media content is accessible to people with certain disabilities, which limits the reach and effectiveness of these platforms.
As part of their commitment to accessible technology, GSA and ODEP are working to collect best practices that companies, government agencies, and individuals can use to ensure their social media content is accessible to all who need it. These efforts have fostered the social media accessibility online toolkit called “Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government” available at: http://www.howto.gov/social-media/using-social-media-in-government/improving-accessibility.
By working together, stakeholders and disability-related organizations can ensure that social media platforms become tools of inclusion, empowering all of us to excel and fully participate – in life, and in the workplace.