Egypt and Facebook? … the power of blogging technology for persons with disabilities

Watching CNN’s coverage of the Egyptian protests and its corresponding results has really had me thinking lately. On a different (until today) wavelength, I have been speaking with folks a lot about how I feel vocational rehabilitation counselors would be the most effective- in my opinion it has a lot to do with updated communication, far more than the Rehabilitation Services Administration dictates. Everyone knows that, of course- but I have been dragging such a theory closer and closer to a Rogerian theme- that empathic interaction is not only essential, but sufficient, for progress. If this is true, the role of “guidance and counseling” in the plan for a typical person with a disability is perhaps more important from an intentional standpoint than many of the supposed pragmatic aspects. Egypt‘s people can credit Facebook for giving them a platform through which they could mobilize and focus attention. An electronic tool for broadcast (and profit) has been credited with allowing a revolution. What would happen if we used similar technology for consumers to communicate with a carefully (HIPAA compliant) selected group of unconditionally positive supporters with vested interests in a person’s quest for vocational and holistic recovery from a disability?

The consumer could add family members, counselors and healthcare providers from various agencies, and other benefactors to such a feed, and narrate a blog of sorts, highlighting their experiences along the way- prompting service providers at the appropriate time to check in personally, case managers to mobilize, and for the consumer herself/himself, to take an active narrative voice in forming the story of recovery and progress.

Granted, there is some danger of attention-seeking, drama-producing and other negative behavior as a result of such a technology- and it would need to protect personal information in as sensitive a manner as any healthcare provider’s individual record keeping infrastructure. However, I can also envision daily updates and communication among professionals who normally only receive monthly or bi-annual reports of their consumers’ progress- not to mention, a sense of immediacy for a consumer who does not need to repeat his or her progress to several medical/psychological/social/spiritual/vocational/educational professionals at once. Imagine a team of professionals able to send and receive those positive vibes all at once? Complete with updates from the consumer on a daily basis? This would be an advance in data collection, interdisciplinary monitoring, and personal progress reporting all in one. What are some limitations? What cautions would need to be in place to assure informed confidentiality and informed choice in the process?

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