Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Social Media in Society








The development of interactive social media platforms has expanded how disability is communicated or shared with the public. Despite the potential of social media to challenge and educate nondisabled people's understanding of disability, little empirical research has been conducted in this area. In this study, we analyzed comments from a YouTube video from a seminal TED Talk by the late Australian disability rights activist, educator, and comedian Stella Young. The video titled "I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much | Stella Young" had accumulated 1,374,878 views, 22,000 likes, and 975 interactions (comments and responses) at the time of the analysis. Our findings suggest that most individuals who left public comments on the video viewed it favorably. They identified as being connected to, in agreement with, or being (un)ironically inspired by Young's talk. However, approximately 14% explicitly disagreed with Young's ideas during her TED Talk, and 7% directly criticized her ideas or appearance. Comments like these reproduce and perpetuate the same types of oppression and marginalization that occur in society.


© 2023 The Authors

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Original Publication Citation

Mamo, Y., & Haegele, J. (2023). "I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much": Social media users' engagement with Stella Young's TED Talk. Journal of Social Media in Society, 12(2), 264-280.


0000-0001-5171-5186 (Mamo), 0000-0002-8580-4782 (Haegele)