Do you twitter?
This seems to be a question that crops up in conversation rather frequently these days.
Not a big fan of Facebook or similar sites that ask way too many questions when you're subscribing? Notice I haven't even answered my first question and I keep asking more? Perhaps I should stop here and address it?
Okay, so tweeting is not only what birds do. Twitter is another form of social networking where you can share information. Yes, you get to share your ideas, but it has to fit within 140 characters of text. And believe it or not, I can actually portray my ideas in such a constrictive system. That's the beauty of it. It forces you to be concise and to the point. You'd be surprised at what sort of info you can find. For example, I've got a bunch of people I follow that tweet about new accessibility products or services. If, perchance, someone is no longer tweeting what you like, you just stop following them; or as we say in the social media world, unfollow them. So let's get started.
What? Subscribing again? Yep, the bane of online existence.
Don't worry, subscribing to Twitter is like a walk in the park compared to Facebook. Let's first go to the Twitter page.
Now, we want to find the "Sign up now" link. To do this, press JAWS+F7 and then press S until you get to it and press ENTER.
Now, you're presented with a straight-forward form that asks for full name, user name, password and email address. Do you remember how to fill out forms? While in Virtual Mode you can move between the elements with the F and SHIFT+F keys. Once in Forms mode, use the TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys to navigate. The only caveat for this form is the Captcha, but there is an audio version, so you should be good to go. Once you're done filling the form, review it with the arrow keys. You will notice there are comments placed after the fields. They tell you if everything is okay; very handy.
Once done, press the "Create my account" button.
The next screen shows you twitter feeds and/or people that might be of interest to you. You can add these people as followers or just skip the step. I would suggest first starting with people you know who have twitter and adding them onto your list. But first, there is a confirmation message that was sent to your email address. You'll need to go to that email and press ENTER on the link inside.
Your first tweet:
Yay, now you get to enter in your first tweet within the tweetasphere of online information. Did you know that Bill Gates is on twitter? He is, I'm following him. Why? Because I'm a nerd. <smile> So let's get to your tweet. Go back to the twitter page.
From there, press JAWS+F7, press S until you hear "sign in" and then press ENTER. Press F until you hear "User Name" and then attack this form as you would any previous forms we have spoken about. Press ENTER on the "sign in" button.
Now, press F until you hear the words "What's happening", press ENTER and finally type in what you've been burning to say for moments now. Once done, tab to the "Update" button and press ENTER. Congratulations, your first tweet. Just remember, published tweets are there forever. So choose your words carefully. Furthermore, everybody, (this includes aliens that share the same visual spectrum that we do), can read and search your tweets. If you have something to say to someone that you don't want everybody to know, send an email. Or here's a good one, take them out for coffee. Wow, what a novel idea.
But, why tweet if nobody's going to read it. The best way to attract people to your tweets is to follow other people. Do this with the "Find People" page. This is another straightforward forms page, where you type in someone's name within the edit field and press ENTER on the "search" button. The resulting list will be comprised of the person's Picture, (if they have one), a link to their tweets page, (useful to see if what the blog is worthwhile reading) and then a "follow" button. Once you start following people, you will be able to reply to their tweets, resubmit or "Retweet" something someone posted and even send them direct messages. Unlike all other forms of tweets, direct messages are only viewable to you and the receiver. I think this is enough for you to get started with your life of tweeting.
Alternative To The Twitter Page:
What? Really? Yes, as with every other social platform, people have come up with various ways and web pages to access the system. One of these sites is called… Fan fair please:
"Accessible Twitter". You can find it here:
This site was optimized for use with screen readers and screen magnifiers, however the publisher of this site ran with it and made things even better. Have a look around and try it out for yourself.
Software Packages To Access Twitter:
That's right. You can have a full-fledged desktop program which will monitor your Twitter account and will update you on what's happening at a time interval of your choice. Since these are programs created by blind individuals, everything is accessible out of the box. ells and whistles vary within the packages. I will list the programs here and it is up to you to see which one works best for you.
This is a highly developed twitter client which resides in the background while you work on other important stuff. In other words, you never see its interface, unless you really want to. All commands are connected to shortcut keys. Find out more at:
The "Jack of all trades" in twitterdom. This program will stay in the foreground, so it's always in your program list; i.e. when you press ALT+TAB to cycle through the running program windows. It has an extensive list of features such as tweet translation and weather tweets and is a good candidate for twittering. Find out more and download the program at:
Twitter is a quick way of finding out what is happening in the world around you. It is also another way of staying in contact with friends, family and even strangers. Like all other social media platforms, remember that what you post is available to anyone who is looking for it. The only exception to this rule is Direct messages, which are only viewable by you and the receiver.
To find out more about Qwitter and McTwit, listen to the following episode of Main Menu:
More information on the show itself can be found at: