On Friday, I received an e-mail about a new social networking app called MiFinder. The software basically allows users to find other local people in their diverse group and begin chatting online. I’ve got to be honest and say it sounded a lot like Grindr (an app for gay men where you can pinpoint the location of potential partners) but I soon realised it’s a lot less seedy. I thought are disabled people really desperate to find friends who also have some sort of impairment? At first, my answer was no as disabled people want to be part of society and have a mixture of friends, able or not.
However, the CEO and Founder Gabriel Saclain said that the app is not just about making friends, “meeting like-minded others is important to share common experiences”. This reminded me that speaking and learning from people who have faced similar difficulties is helpful. For one, you feel less alone if someone else has faced a similar problem. Also, they might know a useful piece of information. For example, I didn’t realise blue badge holders could park free of charge for up to 3 hours in Drovers Way (multi-story car park at the back of M&S in the city I live) until recently.
Knowledge being spread through word of mouth is key for a disabled person. The council or government does not usually pass on the right information to the correct people. Even when the local authority does want to help, finding out what you wanted is not straightforward and often takes a long time. That’s why informative websites about disability exist and is one of the reasons I write this blog. I want people to learn and use any newfound information in their lives. In a similar way, the MiFinder app allows knowledge to be shared but it is more 1 to 1 and the local aspect may be more helpful than reading the latest post ‘Wheelchair Boy’ moaning about access in St. Albans.
I’ve already downloaded the app on my iPad and would suggest you do the same by visiting www.mifinderapp.com. I know I’ve sort of sold it as a ‘make a disabled friend’ app but it’s not. MiFinder is predominantly about celebrating diversity and building a community, which Gabriel in turn believes “can help break down barriers”.
Bye for now!