Gently reaching out through social media

Gently Reaching Out Through Cyberspace: INDATA’s Social Media

Gently reaching out through social media

Through its social media platforms, INDATA truly connects with its audience, transporting them from their phone or desktop to the world of assistive technology.

Outreach and Education Lead Nikol Prieto serves as a virtual guide for social media followers, introducing them to assistive technology users through blog articles, and allowing them to visit technology conventions via video.

social media

Interviews and Adventures

Part of social media’s appeal is seeing and meeting people like us. In her latest “Consumer Highlight” blog, Prieto sheds light on a woman to whom many folks may relate — Lisa Overbay, a wheelchair user with multiple sclerosis who couldn’t afford an accessible vehicle. Fortunately, the blog has a happy ending with Overbay getting a van thanks to INDATA’s Alternative Financing Program.

“This van allows me the freedom to go to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and complete other daily tasks,” Overbay said. “It’s just awesome and so much easier for (me and my husband).”

Consumer spotlights are an important part of INDATA's social media.

In addition to meeting Hoosier consumers at their homes here in Indiana, Prieto travels across the country to conferences to film “Tech Tip” videos, interviewing developers and vendors of the latest assistive technology.

“What I enjoy most about filming Tech Tips at the conferences is giving the viewers the feeling of visiting an exhibitor hall,” she said. “It may not be realistic for someone to attend large AT conferences due to the expense and the distance, so I hope this gives viewers a little insight into what the experience would be like. It’s exciting to stay up to date on the latest assistive technologies and make sure we are always bringing the newest information to our viewers.”

Social media gives followers a glimpse into assistive technology conventions.

Prieto recently attended the 2024 ATIA Conference in Orlando, Florida, where she filmed Tech Tip segments about OperativeEd’s interactive reading practice platform, BuddyBooks, and Gentex Corporation’s wearable device for people with vision impairment, eSight — among other videos.

Putting the Social in Social Media

Tech Tip videos are often shot in INDATA’s own offices and assistive technology lab as well, which is another way INDATA shows its commitment to reaching out to its audience with a more personal, conversational touch through social media.

Vice President of Adult Services Brian Norton recently filmed segments on iOS Live Speech, Live Captions and Assistive Access from the Easterseals Crossroads Assistive Technology Center in Indianapolis. In these videos for INDATA’s YouTube channel, Norton is as laid back and genial as he would be with someone sitting right beside him.

Brian Norton on social media

“Social media is all about being accessible, not just in terms of the information we provide for people with disabilities but the manner in which we deliver it — in a friendly, engaging way that makes it less overwhelming for people seeking assistive technology solutions to make their lives easier,” Norton said. “We try to put the ‘social’ in social media by reaching out with a gentle touch and being as approachable as possible.”

It helps that some of INDATA’s social media content producers are people with disabilities as well and can therefore connect with audiences in an especially relatable way.

A wheelchair user with Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, Social Media Specialist Laura Medcalf brings her first-hand experience with disabilities and assistive technology to her blogs as well as her hosting duties for INDATA’s podcast, Accessibility Minute.

A wheelchair user with Spinal Muscular Dystrophy, Laura Medcalf brings her personal experience to podcasts and blogs for social media

“This understanding helps her write meaningful blogs that reach people,” Prieto wrote. “Laura’s personal experiences make her a perfect fit for working with the INDATA Project to assist in getting the word out about assistive technology.”

“I love writing about technology,” Medcalf said. “One of the most memorable blog posts I have written was about Amy Purdy, a double amputee and Olympic snowboarded who was on Dancing with the Stars. With or without disabilities, we all need to see the possibilities that can be offered with assistive technology.”

Overview of Outlets

Social media users can find INDATA on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter/X and YouTube. With the exception of YouTube, these outlets feature: blog posts regarding AT devices, developers and users/champions; episodes of INDATA’s three main podcasts; local news for people with disabilities (such as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ upcoming adaptive museum experience); and pictures from events about accessibility and AT.

“Whether you’re a person with a disability, a family member, an educator, a developer, a tech wizard or just a people lover, you’re bound to connect with something on our social media channels,” Norton said. “So be sure to follow us — we have wonderful things to show you.”

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