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Rocking in the Digital Age! (#IAmYourCustomer)

First, please forgive me for not being more present on our members list over the last month. Following our AGM, our agendas were very full with deadlines on strategic planning, consultations, presentations, interviews, meetings, and recovering from the hectic pace that is a hallmark of a really good conference. Halifax was a terrific venue and the hospitality of our Maritime friends made it a truly enjoyable and memorable event!

It would appear that my time working on issues and opportunities has turned into mostly a full time job. I am sure glad that I retired to enjoy my seniority! Thank you all so much for the opportunity to be of service on matters which appeal to this advocate's heart!

Importantly, thank you for your confidence and support, providing not only me but my Board colleagues with this opportunity to do our best to make a positive difference in the lives of blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people.

We need your help as members on many fronts too! Please join committees and bring your experience and insights to the conversations about matters important to our goals. Whether your interests are in strategic planning, communications, education, entrepreneurship, fundraising, leadership etc, join us and together we can shake off the complacency that sometimes stops our forward momentum, and start rocking in the digital age!

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of collective action on our 'I Am Your Customer' campaign' and to appeal to blind, deaf-blind, and partially sighted people in an effort to change our story. It is an opportunity to reset the conversation and move from being reactive to being proactive in light of the digital age we live in and the digital tools many of us have at our disposal.

Together we can change the story told about us as dependent and helpless, a strategy frequently used by others to garner donations, to one told by us, about independence, self-determination, autonomy and independence. It is also a story about perseverance, resilience, strength and character.

We endeavor to tell our story from a position that the public better understands and can support, because whoever we are we share common realities, as parents, teachers, students, lawyers, business people and much more. As customers of products and services, we have greater choice than ever before, making old models of service delivery less relevant in our lives. As connected blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted individuals we have the means to act collectively and make good things happen as a result of much more affordable and accessible mainstream mobile technologies. It is our digital time to shine the light on what this means.

Old models of business are being rocked by the popularity of mobile options. Take, for example, what is happening with some of the largest retail stores. News of trouble for large stores which have not adapted to this digital time are going away and/or forced to restructure as a result of online options in the same market space, where once their dominance was unchallenged. Amazon is only one example of how new digital models have disrupted traditional businesses. Apple incorporated accessibility into every system and made their products and services work for many more people than ever before, and digital downloads of movies, music heralded the demise of music stores selling CDs, while traditional book publishers witnessed the loss of market share with the rise of online digital options. As consumers, we will see this change happen in traditional models of service providers and reap the rewards of choice and greater options. Will this happen in our lifetime? It is happening as I write this blog! I am more confident now than ever before that the change we have been longing for will take place in our lifetime!

For blind people who are connected, these digital times are perfect for us. However, not all of us are online, and not everyone knows how to use the very powerful tools which exist which give us access to social networks. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook provides us with the reach and influence to assist in changing the story, and so does our 'I Am Your Customer' campaign.

We need your support in reaching others who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted through lists serves North and South, East and West to join us. Share our news release:

http://www.blindcanadians.ca/news/press/2015-06-01-consumer-movement-blind-targets-canadian-government-and-regulated-organization

Please pass it on to reporters and media contact in your area.

Let our voice be heard on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Take the AEBC pledge by simply sharing the following update on your social media accounts:

I just took the @blindcanadians #iamyourcustomer #AEBCpledge #Canadaday. Join me! http://bit.ly/1E1CBEh

With the right tools and training we are changing the story, one mind, one story, one voice, one device at a time.

One voice, more choice!

My name is Sharlyn. I live in Ottawa and #IAmYourCustomer.

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.