Twitter as Assistive Technology

Hi, I’m Emily Wishnick and I’m here with Tom Dixon. Tom: Hello. Emily: I’m an occupational therapy student at Temple University and I’m here today with Tom to teach about how Twitter can be used as an assistive technology device. So Tom here innovated the use of Twitter as an assistive technology device because he sustained a traumatic brain injury in November 2010? Tom: Mmhmm. Emily: And it affected his episodic memory, and so he has difficulty with remembering his day to day events. So Tom, how did you come to use Twitter to assist you functionally? Tom: Well, I was asked by people on my therapy team to do what’s rather typical of someone with episodic memory loss, which is to be writing down what’s happening so you can keep track of it more easily. However, searching my memory was not particularly easy as a result of it being written down. And in this modern day in age, there must be better ways to keep track of what was happening in my life using email for everything, using this and that for everything so I said, what service would make sense? I didn’t have a Twitter account prior, I assumed it was somewhat redundant because I had facebook and everything like that, but instead I was like, well what mimics memory, in that sense, in that things happen and then they’re left behind for more recent things? And Twitter made perfect sense like that.
Emily: Great, thank you Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read tweets, which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Twitter can be used on a smart phone, laptop, ipad, or kindle device, but for this demonstration we’re using a laptop. It’s easy to start an account. You need to type in your full name, email, and create a password. But for these purposes we’ll demonstrate using our user name and password. This is your main page. To change the settings on your account, click the gear and select settings. If privacy is important to you, you may wish to keep your posts protected. Under settings you can click on security and privacy. This is where you can click tweet privacy and click on protect my tweets. It also allows you to add a location for where and when your tweets occurred. Then click save changes. It will ask you to re-enter your password to save the changes to your account. Once you’re back on your main page, you can create tweets. To tweet, click the blue button on the top right of the screen to compose your message, then you can write your message, and you can add a location and a photo if you wish. It needs to be 140 characters or less. When you’re finished, click the blue tweet button. Your message will show up in your Twitter feed with the day and time that it was posted. You can search for specific words or topics by clicking command F on a Mac computer, at least. This is how you find words within your own twitter feed. So, thanks so much for joining me today, Tom. Tom: My pleasure. Emily: And thank you for your innovations. I’m sure they can be useful to other people. Tom: I hope so. Emily: And so, Tom, can you tell us how we can learn more about you? Tom: Okay, well specifically in relation to these strategies, if you were to go to youtube and search for traumatic brain injury, question mark, technologically beyond it, exclamation point, you’ll be able to find three parts of the talk that I gave at nerd nite, about one year after my injury. Emily: Great, thank you so much! Tom: You’re welcome!

One Comment

  1. Nathan Simpson said:

    This is exactly the sort of thing I built Supzy ( for. Use it as episodic memory, then decide later to publish things or not — but it's all private-first (and like Twitter, it doesn't cost anything for regular users).

    May 2, 2015

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