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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am a facebook junkie

My name is Angie C. Orlando, and I am a Facebook junkie. There,
I said it. Admitting to ones addiction is the first step in
getting help. Except I don't want help. I'm a junkie, and I'm
loving it!

It's true that people don't know what they are missing until
they find it. My online social life has been centered around
email, deaf-blind mailing lists and text messages. I was happy
enough with that, mostly because I didn't know there was a whole
other world of social networking going on behind my back.

Of course, I've heard of Facebook, My Spaces and Twitters. I
read about all the security issues, hacking, complaints and
idiots doing stupid things. It seemed like way more trouble
than it's worth.

I never even bothered to try Facebook on my Braille Note M Power.
That machine is well outdated. Most sites won't load. If I
could get on a site, I'd only be able to follow about three links
before I'd get a memory error and have to reset. Needless to
say, I didn't do much internet on the M Power.

Now I have the newer Braille Note Apex. The internet is still
limited, but I can get on more sites now and go much further
before needing to reset's It's not as good as using an actual
computer or an IPhone, but it's more than I had before.

So one day, for no good reason at all, I tried www.facebook.com,
and it loaded. I was so excited as I began the sign-up process.
I was so bummed when I hit the captcha code. Those things are
100% inaccessible for people who are deaf-blind. My friend had
to help me sign up. Now Angie C. Orlando is a Facebook member
and ready to have some fun!

When I log onto Facebook using the Apex, it automatically
redirects me to the mobile site. This works pretty well.
There's not much clutter this way.

However, There are still some limitations. My Apex will not let
me do any searches on Facebook. I wrote to Humanware tech
support for help. Naturally, they say it's not their fault.
Apparently, I'm running into a bad link. They jump on the fact
that Facebook is known to have inaccessibility issues, despite
the fact that this happens on other websites, too.

It's frustrating but not worth getting angry over. I do what I
can on my own and ask for help when needed.

So what do I do on Facebook? I write on my wall. I update
people about every insignificant moment of my life and crack as
many jokes as possible. I'm collecting friends like candy. I
read what they have to post and comment when I want. Of
course, I can't do photos, music or videos. I just skip over
that stuff. I avoid most links. They are seldom worth the
hassle. Mostly, Angie C. Orlando loves connecting with other
people.

First, there is my family. This includes my father, brother,
sister-in-law, an aunt and uncle and many cousins. I've even
found two relatives in Italy that I didn't know existed. They
write in Italian, so I can't say I'm gotten to know them yet.

Next are my KSU ASL friends, interpreters and local deaf
contacts. I've joined several Deaf community organizations.
Now I will finally know what's going on and might be able to
attend more social events.

There are my old "Refunder" friends. This was one of the first
online groups I joined, back when I was still in college. They
are some of my dearest and closest friends. I stayed in touch
with a few of them, but FB has put me back in contact with them
all.

Then we have my friends from the deaf-blind lists, camp and
organizations. On the mailing lists, we are separated by list
topics. On Facebook, it's one big mix of people. We can talk
about anything.

The most exciting part is that I've been able to connect with my
old high school friends on Facebook. We can interact in a way in
which my disabilities don't matter. They get to know me for who
I really am. Plus, we don't have to struggle with communication
barriers. Still, I swear I'm not going to my 20th high school
reunion in June. They'd have to physically drag me there. But
they'll never find me now, in the same house where I lived
back then.

Angie C. Orlando was shocked on her birthday! I received nearly
100 messages from people wishing me a happy birthday. What a
wonderful way to shower people with love and kind thoughts.

I'm still on the prowl for more friends. If there is someone I
know and like on FB, I am determined to find them somehow.
Since I can't do searches, I have to rely on "People you may
know" and by reading friends' contact lists. It takes a ton of
effort, but I feel so happy when I find another new friend.

Do you want to be Angie C. Orlando's friend? If so, look me up.
I think you can figure out who I am over there.

Now, I must hurry and post this so I can get back on Facebook!

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