Social media really does build community, a fact I’ll happily verify. Prior to writing professionally about cerebral palsy (CP), I knew no one else with the disability. Certainly others somewhere lived with CP but their existences remained abstract to my world. Social media changed that.
Last Friday I enjoyed the pleasure to meeting in-person a young man with a bright future, Blake. We initially connected thanks to the live weekly cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow. Next month Blake will intern with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Considering this I figured Blake must live somewhere close to the DC area.
Back in February my buddy Pete and I planned a road trip to DC for May to visit our good friend Rob and his wife Kelly. You may recall Pete and Rob from my teenage memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle, Nook, and i-Pad via the free Kindle app). Once I received approval from my friends I went about arranging meeting Blake.
Blake’s eagerness to meet me in-person proved flattering. Initial schedules conflicted. However, Blake adjusted his to make getting together work. Thanks to his patience and flexibility we enjoyed insightful conversation at Union Station. Two individuals with cerebral palsy sat across from each other engaged in dialogue due to Twitter.
Meeting Blake only represents the latest example where social media connected me to others within the CP community. You might recall in January I met motivational speaker and author (Someone Like Me) John W. Quinn in the flesh. My first contact with John back in early 2011 came via Twitter.
Meanwhile Twitter and Facebook fostered my connection with Tim Wambach and Handicap This, a connection originally started by email. Knowing the Handicap This crew, John W. Quinn, and Blake all enrich my life someway. On a less me-centric note our connections also demonstrate social media can meaningfully connect the cerebral palsy community.
Do you want social media to better connect you with the CP community? The live cerebral palsy Twitter chat #CPChatNow every Wednesday at 8pm EST offers an optimal starting point. Please join us by using #CPChatNow.