Medicare Part D Renewal
Elderblogger PhoneCon Update 1

Audioblogging and Videoblogging For Elders

On the poll last week regarding Elderblogger PhoneCon, Darlene noted that she would not – nay, could not - attend due to severe hearing loss. Which got me thinking…

Blogging is an excellent pursuit for elders. As we’ve noted in the past at TGB, social worlds shrink as we get older. Retirement cuts into the daily interactions with colleagues we’ve been accustomed to for decades on the job, children and grandchildren often move far away, old friends die and for some, mobility becomes an issue making it difficult to get out and make new friends.

But we meet them every day in the blogosphere, share our expertise, discuss the affairs of the world, show off photos we’ve taken, discuss books and movies and other interests - and over time real friendships are forged, connections that become as important and fulfilling as those we know in physical space. Social isolation, which can lead to loneliness, depression and physical decline, is easily overcome in the blogging world.

Another important advantage of blogging for elders is that it promotes critical, creative and analytical thinking. The old “use it or lose it” truth about our muscles applies to our brains as well, and cognitive functions are kept nimble and even improved with our daily doses of blogging.

Increasingly, audio and video are being added to the blogging experience. Not just YouTube, but individual blog posts in video and sound that sometimes are enhancements and other times are the entire blog post for the day. It broadens and enriches our stories, but Darlene’s comment reminded me that we mustn’t use them to exclude those who can’t appreciate them.

We are the rock-and-roll generations – elders like me, 60 and older, and baby boomers too – who spent way too much time in our youth and middle years attending ear-piercing rock concerts, and there is a higher incidence of hearing loss than would otherwise be statistically predictable in people our age.

So Darlene’s comment is a good reminder to use audio – alone or within video – in ways that don’t exclude those with hearing loss. If you’re posting an audio blog, remember to also post it as text. It doesn’t need to be a word-for-word transcript; it can be a summary of the important points and ideas, perhaps with a direct quote or two.

It is impossible to make everything accessible to everyone all the time. One day, there will be speech-to-text technology (and vice versa) that is reliable and affordable for everyone, but until then, we each can make the effort to include as many people as possible in our expanding blog options.

Comments

Thanks for this reminder. Sometimes I get so excited by a new thing that I don't see all the problems. From now on, when I post an audio, I will add text to it.

LiveJournal does something really nice for this, though it depends on readers, sometimes. They have an option called "phone post" for those who are on the go and cannot type in. Obviously these people also cannot provide a typed summary.

But whenever you encounter a phone post, if you are signed into LJ and the person's security permits it (most people restrict it to their friends list, not just anyone), you are offered an option to "transcribe" it as you listen. (And if you don't, the person who put it up can always do so once they get to where there is a computer terminal.)

I love your comments about the importance of blogging for social interaction (which is often more limited as we age). Also, the fact that blogging makes us continue stretching our mental muscles when it would be easy for those who can no longer get out as much to sink into television. Blogging requires research, interpretation, articulation..

My Mom is deaf. The computer and instant message conversations have revolutionised communication for us. International phone calls with a TTD machine used to be prohibitively expensive. The price of an international phone calls has dropped quite a bit in the past 10 years which has helped. I think it has been helped along in part by competition from home computers.

Now we've got IM conversations, blogs and recently video blogs. I'm still at the bottom of that particular learning curve. Now I'm going to have to find out where I can learn to put in subtitles to a video blog. I don't want to leave anybody out - especially my mother!

I couldn't agree more with all the points you make here, Ronni. Am glad we're thinking about how to accommodate as many as possible, including the increasing numbers of those with hearing loss.

The addition of audio and video to blogs, which I have especially enjoyed at Claude's "Blogging In Paris," has certainly added new dimensions to the traditional written blog with still photos.

I also appreciate reading about any new technology with which others are familiar and write about here.

TGB really seems to be the place to come for some of the latest information for elder bloggers, and the many younger people who may be caring for elders.

This had not occurred to me, providing a written transcript along with audio. In general, I have thought for a long time that the Internet is such a boon to those with disabilities that limit their mobility. In the old days, these folks were sometimes called 'shut-ins'. The web is so great for people who cannot leave their bed, chair, etc.

Thank you, Ronni, for bringing my disability to the attention of others. I know I am not alone with this affliction and deafness does limit the deaf in their ability to interact with others. The computer has been a Godsend to me. Adding a transcript to audio is so helpful, but I seldom see it done. I use closed captioning for the TV, but there is no such thing for computers. Videos are added to so many blogs now and I don't even bother to open them because I know that, even with good speakers, I will have a very difficult time hearing them. I have never heard of "phone post" mentioned by Laura and would like to know more about it. Thanks to those who will try to make interacting more available to the deaf.

The comments to this entry are closed.