Blind People Able to Enjoy Instagram

Last decades have seen an increase in the ways disabled people have to access social rituals that able people have always been experiencing. It’s been a long time since braille was invented, and now more and more media are adapting to help blind or deaf people, among others, enjoy life as the ones who aren’t disabled do. This includes, of course, social media.

Last Tuesday, Facebook introduced a way for blind people to know what appears on a picture. It’s an audio description of pictures. Matt King, the first blind employee at Facebook, introduced this new feature that lets blind people interact normally on Facebook.

This feature also includes an aloud reading of the user’s timeline, narrating every message sent by friends. The problem used to be that sometimes people would upload pictures without a description or a side text.

Tommy Edison, aka @blindfilmcritic Tommy Edison, aka @blindfilmcritic

What King – who was hired last June –did with Facebook is similar to what Tommy Edison did with Instagram. Edison has also been blind since he was born. However, this hasn’t prevented him from taking selfies, uploading videos and enjoying Instagram to the extreme. His profile, @blindfilmcritic, is followed by nearly 30K people. In it, Edison talks about films, his experiences as a blind person (which include having fun at a rollercoaster, competitive shooting and being a DJ).

Two different ways of making seeing people aware that blind people exist, and that they can use social media as well. We can only hope that this situation becomes more and more normal, that more and more disabled people use social media to share their experiences, to get in touch with friends, without having to worry about the fact that people won’t write descriptions. They’re the first to enjoy a revolution that, we hope, will soon be universal.


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