A textual analysis of public Facebook posts from disability advocates : examining how those with disabilities choose to represent themselves via social media
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Those with disabilities can post on any variety of social media platforms, using their own words and images to represent themselves as they choose. And their picture of disability often looks very different than what mainstream audiences have come to expect based on the mass media's historically stereotypical portrayal of those with disabilities. Through textual analysis, this study examined how five socially and ethnically diverse disability advocates represented themselves on Facebook from Sept. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2017, and their followers' responses via comments. An in-depth analysis revealed that the advocates have varied interests and were concerned with issues of accessibility, disability law, ableism, and media coverage of disability. This research has the potential to help disrupt long-held stereotypes of people with disabilities and can add to the current body of literature on media and disability representation. To assist journalists, media recommendations are included for telling disability stories more consistently with how those with disabilities have chosen to represent themselves.
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