Lately, I've been coming to wonder what exactly blogging means to me, or, rather, to those around me.
Put it this way: I could easily have set up this blog in such a way that no one would have realised that I was deaf and had a service dog. That would, of course, have raised a set of issues for me: what would happen if I happened to meet people from the blogosphere in real life? How would I be perceived as a result of this 'omission' of what most people would, I presume, consider a fairly major part of my identity, the fact that I'm deaf?
On the other hand, what does my 'admission', if you will, of my deafness mean to the readers of this blog? Does it mean that my blog is more accessible for 'normal' people because it's in written format instead of spoken words?
Even if this is your first experience with a deaf person in academia, I don't know that you can call it a 'true' experience. Blogging, just as all other (electronic) written forms of communication, such as emails and MSN, places all of us on an equal footing to a degree. We all have basic computer skills in that we know how to function within the Internet, set up a blog, type, and the like. The fact that I'm deaf or you're hearing has nothing to do with any of this. However, if we meet in person, yes, my deafness and your hearing will come into play.*
What I'm getting at is the question of whether blogging is a benefit for me and for you, dear readers, in terms of my deafness. Does blogging really let me get my experiences as a deaf graduate student across to you in a meaningful way? Does reading about my attempts to translate the 'deaf experience' for this blog give you some sense, however meaningful, of what it means to be a deaf graduate student trying to find his way through academia?
*If you ever meet me in person, I have a device called a UbiDuo, which is basically a portable version of MSN. It's brilliant, but I suppose one could legitimately note that it's almost an extension of blogging. Just ask Eaquae Legit and reidemosthenes.
1 day ago