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Using social media and blogging for change: Influencer advocates for people with a disability

Image: Canva

Want a light – hearted story?

Peta Hooke is a social media influencer.

People may look at the terms ‘social media influencer’ and have certain ideas. Chances are, Peta Hooke doesn’t fit those ideas.

She has cerebral palsy and uses a an electric wheelchair.

Hooke uses Instagram to advocate for people with disabilities.

At first, Hooke was hesitant. She told ABC Life that she feared that Instagram wasn’t a safe place for people with disabilities.

I remember when Instagram became a thing in my friendship group in the summer of 2011. At the time, Instagram didn’t feel like a safe space for someone like me.

Hooke worried that Instagram was just another platform for the privileged.

Hooke joined Instagram

Hooke ended up joining Instagram. She created a heavily private account and she admired attractive influencers.

She then started a podcast and used Instagram to promote her advocacy.

She said utilising Instagram made her “sick with dread”.

Despite her fears, no one laughed at Hooke. In fact, she has built up a supportive community of followers.

Using social media for advocacy

Since building a following, Hooke has used her daily life and content to educate and change minds. She also aims to expand what people define as having a disability.

She wants to inspire people with disabilities:

I hope through my presence on Instagram I am implicitly encouraging other disabled people to find the same power.

People with disabilities need visibility. And chances

Black woman in wheelchair on a footpath down the street
Image: iStock

When I first read about Peta Hooke, I thought it was great. People with disabilities: physical, intellectual or mental need a chance.

They need chances to live and to work, just like anyone else. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are over represented in unemployment statistics.

Having people with disabilities visible and mainstream is important. People need to realise that people with disabilities are just people. They may need a little help or slight adjustments. They can be a baser to society when given the chance.

Challenging beauty standards and influencer culture

It’s great that Hooke uses her platform to challenge beauty standards and influencer culture. People are becoming more and more aware of the damage social media can do. For years, people have worried about teens and influencer culture’s impact on their self – esteem and mental health.

Creator and former Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even admitted that platforms like Instagram were made to be addictive. Algorithms are deliberately programmed in a way to make certain images popular.

A call to able – bodied people

Anyone can be a part of the change. For those in privileged positions, please consider supporting content creators from marginalised communities.

Like, share and follow their content. Show other people the talents and abilities of people with disabilities. And for those who do support content creators with disabilities (including my followers), thank you very much.

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