Make Room For The Stuttering

Social Media and Stuttering

Posted on: August 1, 2012

I host two podcasts for people who stutter to share their stories. The Women Who Stutter: Our Stories is going strong more than two years in. And the occasional series for men who stutter, He Stutters: She Asks Him, is more than a year old.

Here’s an interesting trend happening with the women’s stories. About 8 women, months after their episode has been published, have contacted me and asked if their conversation could be removed. That is a little complex, as they are numbered, archived and on iTunes.

Compromises were reached and the last names of some of the women were removed. Some names were changed entirely.

Why?

People are discovering that upon a Google search, their names are popping up associated with stuttering. If they are doing a job search, they don’t want to be linked to anything relating to stuttering. They are afraid that potential employers will draw conclusions that may result in adverse employment decisions.

Several women came right out and told me that is the reason they wanted to remain anonymous and not be outed on Google.

As open as we are about stuttering, and the more progressive we get about advocacy and raising awareness, some things don’t change.

We still fear being exposed and still believe that being found to be a stutterer will result in negative social punishment. Including missed job opportunities or promotions.

And it appears to be more of a women’s issue. Hmmmm . . . . . .

Thoughts?

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8 Responses to "Social Media and Stuttering"

Not everyone understands SEO or what exactly having their names displayed on a website entails. They may only think “No one I know listens to this podcast so I am safe”.

That is why before I interview someone on my podcast, I ask them if it’s ok that I mention their name in my show notes, link to their websites, etc. I make sure they are aware that their names may show up in search engine results along with their interview on my show.

sadly their shame of being connected with stuttering/stammering says alot about their own issues and insecurities. such a pity people cannot be proud to be who they are, warts and all.

very interesting Pam and I agree with Daniele a lot of people don’t understand Social Media and perhaps it might be best – raising the awareness of Social Media too prior to the interview.

We should be more aware of the dangers of commenting on a public facing site,, open to the public.thus leaving ourselves open to all sorts, this is something I learned the hard way ; .The best learning curve ever is to learn by ones own mistakes. !

Perspective employers can and do check out people on line and fraudsters and con people do the same. This is one of the many downsides to SM.

I myself have reigned in my comments and views on public facing sites not because I am ashamed of who I am and my association with the stammering community,

I see this all the time….interesting reading huh ?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19093078

When I started writing on Voice Interrupted I was really careful not to include my last name anywhere or reveal any information that would be tied back to me and/or my online presence elsewhere. I don’t know why…I think I wasn’t ready yet to be so tied to my speech and people who follow me on other outlets (Twitter, FB) are doing so to learn about marketing, not stuttering. But I’ve obviously stopped doing that and, in the process, have become a lot more open about my stuttering. It’s something I did consider, though: “will this affect me professionally?, will I lose clients who don’t want to “deal” with this? will it change my online brand?”

In the end, I’ve come to reframe how I looked at my stuttering in relation to my job, but I think Daniele is right – it’s something you should probably address with people before they agree to the interview – is it okay to use your full name? Is it okay to talk about where you work, do you realize this may be findable? Because people aren’t aware of how connected everything is and once you put something out there, it’s tough (if not impossible) to get it back..

I think that for some, wanting their names removed may very well be rooted in discomfort with their speech, lack of desire to be associated with the stuttering community in such a visible, searchable way. Yet, I think it is also possible for some to be quite accepting (even out and proud) of their stuttering, pretty strongly associated with the stuttering community throughout the web/social media, yet finding themselves not so comfortable/fond of the content of their particular episode in hindsight. I think the the “Women Who Stutter” podcasts can set the tone for incredibly intimate, candid, and vulnerable sharing (which is absolutely wonderful)—but, depending on where you are in your life when it is recorded, what is shared may or may not be content that you want easily accessible to anyone who googles you. Of course, one “should” take this into consideration before committing to a podcast and conduct themselves accordingly, but alas, we are not perfect creatures. In as puzzling or frustrating as this may be to some (and for the podcast host, rightly so to a certain extent), I think that if requests for name changes, etc. are delivered in a gracious and flexible manner, it’s hardly something to write home about…We need to make room for one another and that includes the fumbles, uncertainties, etc.

I totally, totally agree with you. I am simply observing that it is an interesting phenomena that is occurring. Maybe I need to do a better job in making absolutely clear that names (and sometimes links) will be available.
And maybe as I suggest, it really is a “women who stutter” thing – there are many issues that seem unique to women who stutter, as opposed to men who stutter.
We did a women’s workshop at the recent NSA conference, and all of the women said it was one of their favorite workshops. Women want to talk more about their feelings and relationship with stuttering and often examine the emotional complexities, but often try to keep our stuttering under the radar.
I have also been doing podcast conversations with men who stutter (not as many as the women) and I have yet to have a guy ask for anonymity. Maybe guys who stutter don’t think about it as deeply as women who do.
That’s all – I just think it’s an interesting phenomena, one worthy of more research if and when updated research studies in general are done focusing on the needs and issues of women who stutter.

Information Notice

Fluency Through Acting Program

Purpose:
To have stutterers to experience human interaction from the perspective and belief that listening is more important than speaking, seeing is more important than being seen, and giving is more important than receiving. To these ends a variety of acting exercises will be introduced and practiced. We will also work with participants on honesty – expressing the truth of the moment, always revealing whatever you’re thinking and feeling underneath or before your blocks. Fluency by the end of the workshop is NOT the goal. Instead, we will plant seeds that may cause a shift in consciousness over time, resulting in greater self esteem, compassion for and interest in others, and a decreased emphasis on fluency. And yes, we won’t mind if some people DO become more fluent and want to continue in acting as a result of this workshop.

This workshop will be offered FREE OF CHARGE to selected participants and will be in
a small group format so if you are interested please let Eugene know immediately.

Participant’s requirements and selection process:
You must be over 18.
Your stuttering must be mild to moderate.
You must commit to finishing the course.
You must want to connect with others and take chances on an emotional level.
You should have a desire to act or speak in front of others.

Selection Process:
Each candidate will submit a two- minute video introducing him/herself. The video should include name, profession, stuttering history, life challenges as a result of stuttering, as well as dreams and aspirations. Once the video is received and viewed by Eugene Buica, Artistic Director of the Acting Corps, and a former stutter who has recovered through acting, a telephone or in person interview with Eugene will be arranged. Video links should be sent to: Eugene1564@gmail or call him personally at 818-209-6409. The videos will be uploaded to YouTube with passwords on them or as private links so they cannot be seen by anyone else.

Date and time of workshop:
Thursday, June 26th though Sunday, June 30th from 2-5 pm daily

Place:
The Acting Corps
5508 Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91601

Note: As this initial offering is a pilot program, we will be looking for feedback from participants. Also, given that portions of the workshop will be filmed, all participants must agree and give written consent to be filmed and interviewed.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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