What Video Chatting Means for the Deaf Community

Last week Facebook announced another adaptation for the social networking website. Through a partnership with Skype, a free video chatting service, Facebook users will be able to video chat friends through the chat feature. Due to high demand, the plug-in isn’t available for all Facebook users yet but soon will be. It’s easy to use because the chat box functions in the same way as it did before video chatting was available; the only addition is a video chatting button.

The week before, Google released it’s newest social media network, Google+. It’s similiar to Facebook, but the advantage of this social network is a feature called “Hangouts.” With Hangouts you can connect to multiple Google+ Friends via video chatting simultaneously.

Another option for video chatting is FaceTime application available on the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Two users can connect and video chat on their phones at the click of a button.

Skype has applications on both iPhone and Android phones, too. You can also access video chatting on a computer through Skype’s website.

These are exciting developments for all social media junkies, but it is especially exciting for the deaf community. That’s because people who use American Sign Language (ASL) will be able to effectively communicate using these video chatting features. Users can sign to one another because video, not sound, is the basis of this technology. Speaking on the phone to friends and family was once an impenetrable obstacle for the deaf community and now technology is transforming the way people communicate. Conference calls did not exist for people who are deaf or have hearing impairments, but the Hangouts feature on Google+ can make this idea of talking to multiple people at once, possible. These tools can be used for families, friends, in the office, in schools and so many other places.

Technology is undoubtedly, continuously changing out world.

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