Welcome to my About Me page.
My name is Joseph, I was born in 1995 and reside in the Bay of Plenty. As a result of not enough oxygen at birth I now live with CP – Cerebral Palsy. I have a good brain for thinking and my eyes are my most important body part. Together with my Mum, we have developed ‘blink spelling’, which is a way of communicating with my eyes. My early years involved several different highly intensive therapies, and wouldn’t have been possible without a supportive and loving family.
Online I’m known as JosephReidNZ. I was born with Cerebral Palsy (athetoid) and I use technology and social media as my primary method of interacting with the world.
My older sister, Amy, has been my mentor. She guided me through the initial setup of my online presence. As I started my internet journey I became very inspired by Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple. What he aspired to and achieved in his short life was truly amazing. Steve revolutionised computer products for my generation. My life changed in a big way in 2012 when I was given an Eye-Gaze computer! The Eye-Gaze system is much faster and uses a lot less of my energy. The Eye-Gaze has given me the opportunity to share my humour and connect with people and their ideas.
Connecting online allows me to communicate and create my community. I have been able to get myself and my personality out there, away from the physical barriers I have. I sussed out pretty quickly that social media was a way for me to partake in a social life a lot more. Facebook is a great medium for friends and family to keep in touch. They see what I’m doing and enjoying and I can see what they are up to. I use Facebook mostly to have chats with people, especially friends from school. My Gmail is used like any email account. To send and reply to messages, pictures and jokes and to subscribe to organisations. It is also how my Dad & I connect when I’m not staying at his house, I also use the Gmail chat feature too. My favourite form of social media is Twitter, it is truly a global community. I’ve even got the Founder and now CEO following me, Jack Dorsey.
Being in contact with people I admire in New Zealand like Dai Henwood and Jeremy Corbett from TV’s 7 Days led to me meeting them in person. I even created a Twitter account for my followers to keep up to date with this major event in my life such as my spinal surgery in April 2013, you can find it here. Along with favourite actors and comedians, I have also connected with some of my favourite musicians like Jon Foreman the lead singer of Switchfoot. Another band I really link is Anberlin, I got lucky when the lead singer, Stephen Christian did a live video on Facebook, where he sang a song just for me! You can find it here. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything different to any other Teenagers in reference to getting onto Twitter and Facebook. I’m just an ordinary person to other people on Social Media. The benefits of using the Internet for me is I communicate with people who I wouldn’t be able to otherwise, because of my disability. As you can imagine, there aren’t many computers like mine in New Zealand, and not many people who can fix problems when they happen, when mine breaks down, I’m isolated from my social media community.
Now I’m finished my schooling years and making plans for my future. I’m doing motivational speaking (presentations) with my life story. With my passion for Social Media, I’d like to work helping businesses develop their profile in this medium. Using my technology, I am able to use my skills to create an online presence for organisations. So, in summary, being able to access social media has been life-changing. I am not isolated from my community of family and friends, my world has expanded and I am part of a global community where my disability is not a factor.