Online communication provides ways to express feelings, thoughts or desires without having to type actual words. Since Facebook introduced the ”reactions” buttons, we are not only able to ”like” but also ”love” posts, or show that then make us feel ”angry”, ”sad” or ”happy”. Facebook promotes these buttons by stating they provide ”a place where words aren’t needed”.
Living with aphasia is challenging, in a world filled with words. But what are words, anyway? If I press a button saying ”like”, am I not using words then? Am I not verbally expressing myself? When I share your post on Facebook, whose words am I using – mine or yours? Could it be that online communication enables people with aphasia to actually communicate verbally?
The Language, Literacy and Identity International Conference in Sheffield sure got my mind spinning, that’s for sure.
Update: the conference team in Sheffield put together a nice recap.