#18: January 2022
Rest is part of being a good advocate
So as you may or may not have noticed, I completely forgot this newsletter existed in December. Between the holidays, the end of the semester at the college I work for, having the worst sinus infection ever, launching an online store for Social Media Tea, and winding down from a year filled with numerous speaking engagements, I was mentally and physically depleted. I didn’t even realize I had forgotten to do a December issue until halfway through the month. At that point, I knew I needed to prioritize my mental health and resting over anything else, so I quietly skipped sending out a newsletter last month.
I’m still getting back into the groove of things which is why this issue is coming to you on a Thursday instead of Monday. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling has admittedly been hard to shake.
It cannot be stressed enough that everyone should place more importance on rest and mental health, especially if they work in social media or digital marketing. The amount of vitriol and bad news we’re exposed to every day is astounding and can take its toll on you. The desire to hustle and always be working on literally anything can also be incredibly draining.
And if you’re trying to be an advocate for any cause, you cannot give your all if you’re running on empty. Rest is vital and necessary. You cannot be a good advocate if you don’t advocate for yourself first and foremost.
Since I skipped last month, this month’s issue will be a round-up of November and December. Thanks again for sticking around and letting me rest, folks. The understanding is much appreciated.
News and Updates
CVS withdraws Supreme Court case
Remember in my last newsletter where I mentioned that CVS was attempting to dismantle anti-discrimination protections under Section 504? Yeah, they finally gave up and dropped their case.
Discord makes meme sharing more accessible
I’m not very familiar with how Discord works, but it’s nice to see that they’re working to make their platform more accessible!
Facebook takes page from TikTok’s book
Are you familiar with TikTok’s text-to-speech feature? Yes? Well so is Facebook apparently, and they’re working to emulate it. It’s admittedly a great feature that every platform should implement.
Twitter introduces auto-captions
This was an exciting update, and I like the bit of shade that Twitter threw in its announcement graphic. However, many users have reported that the feature is kind of buggy and doesn’t work that well when a video has embedded captions (open captions). Hopefully, Twitter will continue to tweak and improve its auto-captions feature because it’s certainly a nice one to have!
British Airways adds BSL to passenger experience
Travel and transportation can be a huge hindrance to individuals with disabilities if there’s no effort being made to have it be accessible. British Airways has become the first UK airline to trial a new video service that includes British Sign Language (BSL) to make the passenger experience more accessible for Deaf and hard-of-hearing customers.
Disability isn’t a costume or a prop
Once upon a time I found Ellen DeGeneres funny. Now I mostly just cringe at how willfully ignorant she seems to be at just about every turn. The on-screen stunt she pulled for Halloween last year was horribly ableist and offensive. Someone’s disability or the assistive technology they use isn’t a costume.
Think beyond your own existence
It’s sad how selfish and careless some people can be, and so often at the expense or inconvenience of the disabled community. Just like the digital world, think about how your actions impact the physical world for people besides yourself.
Accessibility shouldn’t be extra
Why is accessibility frequently treated like an afterthought or something you need to pay extra for? Something as simple and impactful as creating accessible PDFs should absolutely be free for everyone! It would make such a difference in digital communications, especially within higher education and marketing.
Have you recently spotted a major digital accessibility win, update, or learning moment on social media? Send it to me! I might just feature it in my next newsletter. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can DM me on Twitter. My inbox is always open!
Alt Text Practice
I previously ran a weekly exercise on Twitter called #AltTextTuesday. Due to my increasing workload, I decided to move the exercise here, to my newsletter. Each month I’ll choose a different image from Pexels, and I encourage you to practice writing your best alt text for it. If you have questions or want feedback on your image description, feel free to email me!
I find some of the best tips, resources, and insights on Twitter from other creators and advocates, and I want to share them with you, too!
Are you looking for an online community where you can learn more about accessible social media practices? Join the Facebook group I created! Accessible Social is a group dedicated to helping anyone working in social media, marketing, public relations, communications, or advertising learn more about accessibility best practices for digital content. All are welcome!
Longer pieces that are definitely worth reading through and learning from.
Ableism at COP26 Shows Disabled People Are Still an Afterthought
Rachel Charlton-Dailey | VeryWellHealth
“The conference was plagued with allegations of ableism after Israel’s Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who has muscular dystrophy, was unable to enter the events compound in her wheelchair-accessible vehicle. The distance from the vehicle to the building was too far for her to travel in her wheelchair.”
Bojana Coklyat in Conversation with Shannon Finnegan: What can alt text learn from poetry? What can poetry learn from alt text?
Amy Berkowitz | The Believer
“Writing alt text tends to be viewed as a chore—something that must be done for compliance. Alt Text as Poetry rejects this idea and instead celebrates the expressive potential of alt text, encouraging people to explore writing image descriptions as a creative practice.”
Bits of wisdom, thoughtful moments, and maybe a few pointed remarks that made me immediately stop scrolling. Hopefully, they get you thinking as well!
One Last Chuckle
Both of these made me laugh pretty hard, especially the tweet about counting in ASL.