Lianne Herbert: The internet isn’t always a Deaf-friendly place

Posted on August 16, 2017

A few months ago, maybe longer, a famous celebrity announced their pregnancy and the internet went crazy in good and bad ways. I tried to make a joke by putting things into perspective on a social media forum by saying the media didn’t announce my pregnancy like the celebrity.

Straight away I got comments saying ‘Your not famous.’ (Yes they spelt ‘You’re’ like that.) They then proceeded to try and put me down not realising I already have mental health problems of my own.

This then made me think, is the internet really a safe place for anyone? Especially D/deaf people?

It seems on social media forums people are quick to be opinionated and try to pull you down. They wouldn’t do this face to face but feel brave enough to do so behind the screen.

D/deaf people are already isolated for various reasons, main one being communication, so why do we expose ourselves for people to attack us if we said, in their eyes, the wrong thing? It’s like disabled people aren’t allowed to have opinions of their own!

It also made me wonder do D/deaf people idolise others like hearing people do? The D/deaf community appears to have a small pool of famous people that outside the D/deaf community people are unlikely to have heard of. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I don’t know.

It’s been said on The Limping Chicken before that written text can get lost in translation. Sometimes I wonder if emoticons are helpful for people or a hindrance. This is because the meaning isn’t always conveyed properly or the wrong emoticon may have been used.

Take for example if you’re angry. How angry are you? Just a bit or very angry? You have to scroll through the emoticons to select the right one. Whereas with sign language you can see how angry the person is straight away through body language and facial expressions.

Which leads me to the question ‘WHY WON’T ALL HEARING PEOPLE LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE?!’ Things would be less lost in translation and I’m sure people wouldn’t dare put you down, as much, on the internet if you could put a name to a face.

So are you ready to learn sign language if you don’t already? Also lets make the internet more user friendly for D/deaf and disabled people. Perhaps its time we made our own version of Facebook for D/deaf people to use. What are your thoughts?

Lianne Herbert is a deaf professional writer who can be followed on Twitter here. Lianne is also on a Copywriting course to enhance her freelance prospects. She is currently involved with the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a Playwright course.

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