We are nearing our tenth year in the 21st century, a year which saw technology take huge leaps. One of the main targets of technology is communication advancement. Today we are able to communicate with each other through many mediums, just to sum up a few:
- mobile phone
- chat program
Technology is here to facilitate all kinds of needs we humans have. I love reading books so much I don’t have rooms anymore to store them, so an e-book reader is one of the gadgets on my wish list. I want to be able to check my email any time anywhere so I own an iPhone. Which added plus that it has a camera and possibility for many photo apps to satisfy my photo needs. Just to give some examples.
But yet while mankind makes light speed progress with technology most of us don’t progress with these technology. Most of all on the communication front of technology.
As someone who is hearing impaired(deaf) I treasure technology even more. Before losing my hearing I had digital hearing aids that could be precisely programmed to suit my hearing. It had more then one settings so I could chose “Music” or “Loudy Enviroment” etc. Then I lost my hearing which is not nice but all isn’t lost, thanks to internet and computers. I can still communicate with everyone through email, chat programs, etc.
As I work in the internet/technology field(website development) it shouldn’t be a major issue either. It’s not like I’m a teacher in front of the class or a lawyer standing everyday in court. But to my surprise it’s in this area that I find a lot of resistance to me being deaf.
I have been applying to jobs lately and most ask for strong communicative skills. To me this means to being able to clearly express what you mean, to be able to “listen” to others and work well in team. But a majority of the companies who call them self experts in technology and internet understand only one thing under communicative skill, to be able to hear. I once applied for the job of web developer which entailed “get psd design, code the front end, integrate it with cms and other server side coding”. I got a rejection email stating that they consider me being deaf an impairment in communication so I’m not suited for the position.
To me it sounded like “sorry but you are deaf, we don’t see how you can sit and code css/xhtml and php for us everyday”.
These experiences the last few months really made me wonder how can people really appreciate all these communication technology if they expect you to be able to hear them talk or to be on location all the time. The Queen of the Netherlands Kingdom made an end of the year speech criticizing technology for making people too independent and distanced.
Well it is thanks to the progress of the last few years like unlimited broadband internet, with chat programs and applications like Facebook and Flickr that I can keep in touch with family and friends all over the world. Because unlike the Queen I can’t afford to take a trans Atlantic flight every year to see my family and friends back home. It’s thanks to technology that I can reach my doctors myself with my personal questions instead of having someone call for me.
Another argument I come across online a lot is that you can easily miss interpret the meaning of what someone is saying in an email or chat. That is true to certain level. Most people when writing emails don’t take the time to formulate well what they mean nor write in correct sentences or use paragraphs. Mostly when I get emails it’s just one huge block of text. Wrong use of exclamation mark is a huge issue in emails. If people where conscious of how they write down what they mean a lot of miss understanding can be adverted.
Everyone wants to boast they have the latest gadgets, their company is on top of newest advancement, etc. But are they truly? Do they take profit of the technologies to reach everyone?
As an entrepreneur, a company or a weblogger ask yourself these questions:
- Can the sight impaired people “read” my content?
- Can the hearing impaired follow my podcast?
- Do I refrain from hiring impaired people even though their impairment can be helped with technology?
You will only truly appreciate what technology offers when you acknowledge how it really helps us all. In everyday life, on the medical area(think about MRI scans, surgery robots), etc, etc. With my netbook and my tethered enabled iPhone I can be everywhere and be available to chat, webcam, email or work. All thanks to technology.
The Jedi didn’t send Luke Skywalker home after he lost his hand didn’t they? They gave him a mechanical hand.