From Trivial to Powerful, The Effects of Social Media

So this’ll probably be a short entry, assuming I manage to crank one out at all. And with class starting tomorrow, that day’s post will be a short one as well.
I wanted to quickly talk about a couple of ways that social media, (e.g.) Facebook and Twitter, have worked in my favor or allowed me to work in someone else’s.
Many point to these modes of communication and suggest that they are major time wasters on which little is actually accomplished. To a large extent, I wouldn’t disagree with this. However, some pretty cool things can happen as well.
The first of these is trivial, I’ll admit, but to a friend of mine and I it will make for a more enjoyable NFL football season if it actually happens and is accessible. I had called NFL Audio Pass Customer Service on Friday when I purchased this product, because I wanted to see if there was a way I could listen to games on my iPhone. I was assured by a rep that if I downloaded the NFL 13 app, I would have the sort of access I sought.
When Sunday’s preseason game kicked off, I launched the app to see if I could find that audio. Now I’m a bit concerned about usability with VoiceOver, because the screen seems to refresh every five seconds or so, taking me back to the beginning. Other apps refresh also, but they manage to leave me in the same place even as they do so.
Anyway, I saw only a way to upgrade to a premium subscription that would allow for viewing of four games per week along with other NFL network content. In response, I tweeted “Ugh very disappointed in the NFL Mobile app. I don’t even see a place to listen to audio only to subscribe to video feed. #GetItTogether!”
A few minutes later, an account for NFL Mobile’s Customer Service, that had only been created like a week prior, responded, talking a couple of us through what we should expect. At least they were aware enough to know that such issues might crop up, I guess.
In a nutshell, they said audio should be available by the time the regular season begins in a few weeks. It’s not a real big deal if it isn’t, as I can just listen to the games via the computer, but the convenience factor is that to which I am most looking forward.
The other way that social media has had a major effect on me is by what it allows me to do for another. I have for months, years really, tried to help quite often new parents of persons with Norrie Disease, the disorder that has caused my blindness and hearing loss. Google is a wonderful thing, and so people sometimes show up with questions and concerns. So I corresponded with someone via Facebook, not actually realizing that I was acting in my official capacity as a member of the board of directors in the Norrie Disease Association. I certainly do understand the overwhelmedness that can result when you find out that your child has a condition that might result in a varying set of disabilities from mild to moderate hearing loss to possible intellectual deficits. My take home message is always this: first, many of us go on to live normal, productive lives and do great things for ourselves, our families and friends. But no matter the situation, everyone’s quality of life is improved when he or she experiences a loving, vibrant environment that encourages the highest degree of functioning possible.
I know for a fact that my folks sometimes feel frustrated and/or sad watching me deal with hearing loss. But they try their best to understand, and never make me feel like I’m less of a person for it. For this, I feel extremely blessed to live in the era I do, as I’ve said earlier in reference to my attempts to gain more meaningful employment. Probably less than 50 years ago, many of us would have just been shoved away in an institution and darn near forgotten about by all. And I should say that I don’t think this was often the family’s choice, but they were in many cases railroaded to make such decisions by supposedly well-meaning but quite misinformed medical professionals.
So I feel good if or when I am able to help others to deal with all these challenges, and am always here to do so in whatever capacity I can. As I noted in the letter I wrote for potential board re-nomination coming up here at the end of this month, I stand in the legacy of the NDA’s founder, the late Mike Kosior, who left us far too soon. I hope he is happy with what I’m trying to do.

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