Tag Archives: social media

Grace Mandeville reveals how to become a star on YouTube

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This story is part of 30 Under 30.

 

Grace Mandeville is a popular YouTube vlogger, as well as an actor, model and blogger. However, Grace says she just spends her whole life on Twitter!

As part of 30 Under 30 she talks to us about making videos, attitudes and her top tips for getting started on YouTube. 

How I started doing YouTube videos

I was going for an audition and I was talking to some of the other people in there and they were like ‘Oh I have a show reel on YouTube’. Suddenly I thought, with acting you have to wait for someone to say ‘yes you can have this role’ and tell you what to do, but with  YouTube you can just do it yourself, there’s no waiting.

I was born with what’s called a foreshortened limb. I just say I’ve got one hand – my arm ends just below the elbow. I found it really easy breaking into YouTube as a disabled person. I didn’t talk about my arm for quite a long time, just because I didn’t think it was an important thing to mention. It doesn’t define me. But then I did a collab with another YouTuber and there was loads of horrible comments about my arm on their video. That’s what upset me more – I didn’t think it was fair to them.

So I did a video and started talking about it. My audience has been really accepting and if that means that 75,000 people in the world have changed their attitudes towards it, then I’m happy with that!

Full length photo of Grace, standing in the middle of a road in the countryside.

Attitudes

I’ve had a few negative comments online. I did a video called ‘I have one hand’ and started it by making a joke saying my sister flushed it down the toilet, then I end up telling them the truth. I got a few people commenting saying ‘it’s all good, in a few years’ time you’ll be able to hide that and make your arm look normal again with the prosthetics that are being built these days.’ And I was like ‘no, did you not watch the video? I just said ‘I’m happy the way I am and I don’t want to change it.’ So they’re not exactly trolls but those are the comments that get to me. They obviously still don’t get what I’m trying to say.

There can be  negative attitudes in the TV world too. Not necessarily from actors but more like casting directors. There are a lot of auditions that I go for, where I turn up and they’re just looking for disabled people which is cool because I think it’s a step in the right direction and they need to include more diversity, but I want to go for parts because of my acting not because I have one hand. And that’s a big thing that I want to change so badly. For people to focus on the skills. Basically – just give me a good acting job!

Role models

There are very few disabled people on YouTube so I encourage it as much as possible. Even though I’m one of the few people doing it, I don’t see myself as a role model at all. What a lovely thing though. I do get nice messages from young disabled people. Especially on YouTube because I think it’s such an accessible way to connect people and on Twitter as well.

Head shot of Grace looking off to the side, next to a neon sign of Coca Cola

My top tips for breaking into YouTube

Talk about something you’re interested in

Don’t just talk about make-up because you think that’s a cool think to talk about. I couldn’t talk about make-up but I love watching the videos. Which is why we do comedy.

Don’t make them too long

Make your videos short and be concise. They can always watch more of your videos if they want more of you, but you don’t want them to lose interest.

Be topical

If you want your channel to grow, be topical. We did a sketch on Valentine’s Day that was about Valentine’s Day. So you can tweet it out on Valentine’s Day and everyone that’s interested in Valentine’s Day will watch your video. You don’t always have to be topical but it is good.

Get people involved

Make videos with people you want to make videos. I make them with my sister. Even if they annoy you, they might be better on camera than you!

Go for it

The great thing about it is you don’t need anyone’s permission – apart from your parents if you’re young. So you should just do it. I really wish that I did it like three years before I actually started it!

Grace joins us for a Facebook Live session at 4pm on Friday 17 June.

She is sharing her story as part of 30 Under 30. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Keep up to date with all of our new stories on our 30 under 30 page.

To see more from Grace, follow her on Twitter.

“I want to connect people like me and show them that they’re not alone” – Ellie, the social entrepreneur

30 under 30 logo

This story is part of 30 Under 30

 

Ellie was just 18 years old when she set up CP Teens as a way of reaching out to other young people who feel a bit lost and isolated. The response was fantastic and CP Teens has grown into a vibrant online community. Now, at 21, Ellie continues to pretty much single-handedly run this amazing organisation.

As part of 30 Under 30, she talks about why she set CP Teens up, their progress so far and how the 2012 Paralympics inspired her to make sport accessible to more disabled people.

When I was younger, people at school all wanted to be my friend because I’m a little bit different and children quite like that. But as I got older, by 14 or 15 they didn’t want to be with me anymore. At the time I didn’t really realise I’d become socially isolated because I was concentrating on my studies, but when I left school my friends all went off to university and forgot about me.

I felt like there was nothing out there for people like me, socially and I didn’t have the confidence to go out and get a job. So I decided to set up CP Teens. I wanted to connect other people who, like me, just felt a little bit lost and to tell them that they’re not the only people out there who feel isolated.

The response was amazing

At first I just set up a Twitter account because I was a bit bored! I thought it was going be something I would get tired of after a week and never log back on, but I woke up the next morning and people like Francesca Martinez and Sophie Christensen were followers!

Other young people were getting in touch saying “I’m a teenager too and I feel the same way, it’s so nice to find someone else.” I got so many emails like that I couldn’t believe it. So I just kept going. I set up a website and then a Facebook page and it just kind of grew.

I just thought it was me feeling that way so it was really nice to know I was helping other people through my own experiences. It made me feel less alone. I’ve met some really cool people too and I even hear from people overseas.

Ellie, a young disabled woman, smiling at the camera

Reaching more people

On CP Teens there’s an online service so people can connect and chat. We have social get-togethers and we do a ball every year. Teenagers and young people from across the UK come together. It’s really nice. We have a RaceRunning club which is really good and we also have a partnership with Accessible Derbyshire. They do loads of accessible activities – canoeing, climbing, you name it.

I get a lot of parents [contacting me] who have young children who’ve just been diagnosed so I’ve set up another part of CP Teens called CP Tinies and CP Tweens. It covers 0 – 13 years and children can get involved too. I want it to be for everybody.

In my gap year I got into Paralympic sport and it just changed my life so much. I started to wonder how many other young people like me think can’t do sports. So I decided to do a degree in Sport Development and Coaching. I’ve just finished my second year and I’m really enjoying it. Eventually I’d like to incorporate it into CP Teens and bring my two passions together.

Ellie, a young disabled woman, races on an adapted tricycle on a racing track

Hopes for the future

Ultimately, I want to do CP Teens full-time. I only do it very part-time at the minute because of university, but I think if I put in more hours I could make it so much better.

We already have over 2000 followers on Twitter and more than 1000 likes on Facebook. The website gets about 1000 visits a day which is pretty cool (and scary!) and I get about 25 emails a day too. It’s hard trying to fit it in around university but in the summer it does get easier.

We’re just about to get charity status so that will be really good. At the moment, because it’s not got a registered number, people can be a bit dismissive of it. We’ll also be able to apply for funding and have charity partners so we can do more things. I just want to see it grow and grow, and reach more people.

I get so many emails from people saying “because of CP Teens I’m much more confident and I’ve done this and that”. I can remember, before CP Teens, thinking I was the only person on the planet with cerebral palsy. I think it’s important to let people know that they’re not alone.

Ellie is sharing her story as part of our 30 Under 30 campaign. We’ll be releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Keep up to date with all of our new stories on our 30 under 30 page.

To get involved with CP Teens and find out more about Ellie, visit the CP Teens website.

From Nike to Manchester United, brands are listening to disabled people

There have never been so many different ways to influence decision-making at all levels of society. Social media allows disabled consumers to have a direct conversation with brands and companies. They are taking notice.

Manchester United

Martin Emery is a life-long Manchester United fan and a father to three sons. Zac who is five years old, Ethan who is seven and Jordan who is now 18.

Jordan has a number of medical conditions, which means he has learning difficulties, has many seizures a day and uses a wheelchair.

Martin and two boys outside Old TraffordMartin was initially told by Manchester United that he couldn’t seat his family together, and Jordan could only have one carer with him.

Things then got worse before they got better.

A club official emailed Martin to say: “there are some clubs that would welcome you with open arms and possibly ask you to bring as many family members as possible, the downside is it wouldn’t be at Old Trafford, most probably Rochdale, Oldham or Stockport”.

Undeterred, he set up a campaign and website United Discriminates and kicked it off in a blog a year ago.

Read Martin’s blog on the campaign.

The good news is that by the end of last season United had constructed a new accessible seating area for disabled fans, families and friends.

Consumers speaking out

Iconic high-street brand M&S recently launched an online range of bodysuits, sleep suits and vests with poppers in additional larger sizes. That was on the back of a Rita Kutt, the grandmother of a three-year-old Caleb, who has cerebral palsy, contacting the retailer. Read the discussion Rita set up on Scope’s online community.

They had difficulty finding clothes to fit him, as he uses nappies and is fed through a tube in his stomach.

Caleb’s family then set up a Facebook page called M&S and Me: Special Needs Clothing for Children, which now has more than 4,500 members.

When M&S wanted to test their new designs we arranged for parents from our Scope community to trial some sample sizes with their children. Their feedback helped to shape the products.

The new range of clothes cost between £3 and £7, cheaper than similar items of clothing for disabled children currently available in the market.

The influence of social media is growing

Social media allows individual consumers to have a direct conversation with brands. Nike developed an easy grip trainer in response to an open letter from a 16 year-old boy with cerebral palsy.

Lego introduced disabled characters after they were contacted by Toy Like Me, a Facebook campaign run by a disabled mum, who realised that there weren’t enough toys representing disabled people and children.

A growing number of businesses are taking action in response to the Extra Costs Commission, an independent inquiry that last year found daily life costs more on average for disabled people. In response to the report, ride-sharing app Uber launched UberAssist in the UK, a service that allows disabled passengers to call specially trained drivers.

Thinking about what disabled consumers need makes sound commercial sense

There are over 11 million disabled people in the UK and their spending power is over £200 billion a year.

In February, ticketing agent The Ticket Factory following complaints from disabled customers upgraded its booking system to allow disabled people to buy tickets.

Barclays Bank has launched a new portal on its website that supports businesses to make their services and products more accessible to disabled people.

What we need now is even more companies to listen to disabled consumers and recognise the power of the purple pound. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve come across any brands going the extra mile for their disabled customers. 

Keep using the tablets!

Guest post from Margie Woodward, Empowerment officer at Scope.

Scope has run a pilot of 10 communication groups within all regions North, South, East and West during 2013 to enable us to communicate with disabled people in our services on matters concerning  policies and procedures, Scope’s strategic direction and future campaigns.

We also wanted individuals to try for themselves communication applications, leisure activities, networking abilities and generally experiment with technology.

Margie Woodward demonstrating the iPad

The iPad may not be accessible to all our service users but it is a start, to break down the barriers and to show disabled people in our services how such devices can change their lives.

Use of Pinterest

To share apps and other technology that might be useful and of interest to disabled people, we’ve created a couple of Pinterest groups on assistive technology and apps for leisure.

Let us know your favourites – we can all learn from each other!

Inspiring women to follow on Twitter

On Tuesday we asked:

We had a fantastic response. Thank you to everyone who got in touch with their favourites. We’ve passed these on to the journalist so maybe we’ll get to see one of them featured in the magazine, we’ll let you know!

Here are all of the great suggestions we received:

@suey2y – Passionate Leftie & Health Warrior. Writer. Will tweet about politics, welfare, & disability disgraces A LOT. Also loves Elvis & Jammy Dodgers

  • “In spite of an illness that is painful and debilitating she writes and speaks for the disabled.” Vicky
  • “What a woman” – Charlotte
  • “The obvious one” – Penelope

@Bendygirl – Life in a broken bureaucracy with a bendy and borked body.

  • “Without a doubt” – André

@EverydayAbleism – Highlighting the everyday experiences that can come with disability, MH, illness.

  • “Giving a voice to disabled people 🙂 ” – Isla

@bmdonna – Have EDS as do my children. I am passionate about services for people with EDS. EDS = Validate, educate before you can rehabilitate anyone

  • “without you the HMSA would fall to pieces, the charity helps so many” – M

@janeccolby – Run The Young ME Sufferers Trust, was headteacher. Had severe ME from polio-type virus but can play golf now, even with my handicap.

  • “she has been a lifeline for us” – 625elf

@halfabear – Fierce ginger.

@fibro_girl – Fibromite, thrifty foodie, disability rights campaigner, friend, chatty passionate about many things.

@ZaraBain – Philosophy teacher/advocate. Yoga enthusiast. ME/CFS Warrior.

@SchizophrenicGB – Writing under a pen name as the stigma of schizophrenia still scares me.

@IslaBoag – PhD research student at the University of Strathclyde & librarian. Radical opinion-haver.

@stickmancrips – Cartoonist, Creator of Stickman Communications.

 

Have we missed someone? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list.