Mixed-media Communication Problems and sensory overload

I’m seeking feedback and suggestions to a communication problem.

I am a commuting college student, and I spend most of my free time on campus at my university’s LGBTQ center. The center is a much needed safe space for our transgender students to be themselves and find community. The center also offers a wide range of programming for students (support groups, workshops, speakers, etc).
The center had a massive budget this school year. As a result, they now have only two employees and two work-study students. There simply isn’t the labor and money to operate like in the past.

The Problem:
The students who spend the most time in the center seem to be the last ones to learn about programming and events. Currently, the center has a weekly newsletter, official university webpage, orgsync page, and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). It is very common for a specific event to only be posted on social media and not the newsletter or vice versa.
Social media might be a great way to reach the general student population, but the many students who rely on the center the choose not to use it due to the negative impact it has on our wellbeing. As a result, we end up missing out on invaluable opportunities that could really benefit us.

It would take more resources than the center has to use all of these methods of communication effectively. How can they adjust their strategy to reach both the students who are on social media and those who aren’t?
Is there a way for the students who are prone to sensory overload to access just the “meat” of the content on social media without scrolling through all the likes and retweets?
Is there some other method of communication we’ve overlooked that would be more effective and less time consuming (both in creation and consumption)?


Very interesting subject!! It sounds like an online subject/group posterboard with choices of subjects would be useful. Also, I believe an accommodation might be in order here- your group was designed to help a group of people to find community- so whomever is making the social media announcements should be posting paper copies to communicate as well.

I could not see your original post, I think you make a very important point here- sensory overload can affect the physical health of a person. I have seen this, it’s real and needs to be addressed.

(I restored my post so you can see it now. I wasn’t sure how relevant the topic was to the focus of this board and was trying to delete it right as you were responding… oops!)

1 Like

That’s ok!! Your post tells a story from the beginning which is a good one- about the humane tech experience of a group of people which is very insightful. Thank you for sharing!! As the topic develops you might start a new one under Sensory processing in the health category. That’s what forums are about- development of ideas together as a group. Keep reading and posting, have a good day:)

Hi @BipedBoy!

Thanks a lot for your post. Its certainly on-topic for CHT! It saddens me to hear and see how much LGBTQ rights and equal treatment seems to be on the decline again :frowning: Going backwards in time, huh?

I have some ideas for you to consider. Think there are some excellent opportunities to apply Humane Technology & Practices to your case:

  • Use free and open-source software (FOSS) exclusiviely to save on your budget
  • Use decentralized and/or self-hosted software to prevent censorship, now or in the future
  • Use open internet standards to break walled gardens and get better integration between media channels
  • Use the purpose and locality of your community to break the ‘network effect’ that usually hampers choices for all of the above

So what does this mean, and what can you do?

  • You might use SocialHome as your main website. It is easily manageable, you write content in simple markdown (with editor help). Other users can have their own SocialHome pages, and you create an interconnected network.

  • You might use Mastodon as an alternative for Twitter. Mastodon has a very open and friendly community. You can select a server of your liking and with a proper moderation policy. Yes, you get rid of (most of) the trolls. And you could decide to host your own installation and choose a moderation policy that is most fitting. Add the Mastodon feed to your SocialHome.

  • You might use Friendica as a Facebook alternative and integrate the feeds and/or other parts in your SocialHome.

I didn’t try the software myself yet, but I am intending to use SocialHome and Mastodon. On the latter one I hear lotsa good review, especially on the relief it is to not have the hate and such that is so common on Twitter.

All this software is FOSS (under active development to add more features), that breaks walled gardens (through open standards like W3C ActivityPub) and decentralized.

See also: Towards the Vision of The Decentralized Web!

Hope this is useful. We love you. You are free! :slight_smile:

That’s ok- we are all learning to navigate these pages as well.

Unfortunately, they are required to keep an updated page on the university’s site, which is currently going through a major website overhaul with very strict parameters for a unified design across all university pages. The staff have gotten training on how to use this new program, but the UI is not very intuitive. Because of that, I’m not sure how open they are to adding another platform… Regardless, I’ll check them out and see what the other students think!

Aha… maybe you could host a separate server (in the cloud for a couple of bucks p/m), then have a minimum presense on the uni page and a redirect or link.

In the meantime go back to physical message boards- I know someone with disabling sensory processing issues especially with screens. Physical boards get people together as well. Make the environment where the postings are posted sensory friendly- with sound absorbing tapestries on walls like cloth and carpets etc…

When tech is too much it is ok to develop something no-tech. This would be an accommodation for a neurological disability. Depending on the country you live in a civil rights issue related to “a fair appropriate access to your education - which includes your student life experience of education”.

Technology should never isolate but connect.