Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I've not been blogging as much: hint-- "tweet, tweet"

I've not blogged as much lately as I'd like to and have noticed a downward trend in the number of posts among blogs I follow. I also follow many of the same bloggers on Twitter, where I notice many of these folks actively tweeting. Yesterday, there was a tweet asking where all the assistive technology bloggers have gone. I echoed that sentiment to myself, but then sheepishly answered myself, "Well Access Ability isn't really just about assistive tehcnology." Still, I know I've been blogging less since I started using Twitter.

Okay, a lot less.

I must tip my hat to one blogger, who covers assistive technology and so much more, and hasn't quit blogging, despite being very busy on Twitter as well. Michael McCarty at
Fred's Head Companion
still gets the job done. (Great work there, Mike, because I follow both Fred's Head and your personal tweets, and, as a result, I know how busy you are.

Okay, so what shifted me into high gear on Twitter. Let me share an insight that people who don't tweet don't know. Many tweeters use a client, which means a software program like we use a program for downloading our email or listening to music. The problem for blind computer users are that out of the many Twitter clients out there, most aren't accessible to screen readers. But, with necessity being the mother of invention, along come some blind computer programmers and now there are some.

The Twitter client I use is
which, I must say, is one awesome program.

I use this very similarly to how I use my email client. I often get into and follow other conversations, just like in email. The tweets post on my Twitter profile, but I download them in my Tweets" buffer. With a keystroke, I move to my Direct Message," "Sent," or "Replies" buffer." It is a very seamless transition to begin using this and I've found it easy to learn.

One really sharp feature is that it doesn't have a user interface, or UI. This means it runs in the background and has no window open while its operating. Every four minutes, Qwitter will check my page and see if there are any new tweets, automatically download them, and chime to notify me what just came in. It is customizable, with different soundpacks available to signal the different messages one can get. I'm showing my playful side when I tell you I've got the Super Mario Brothers soundpack running.

It is freeware, but the designer does take Paypal donations. After using Qwitter for less than two weeks, I felt this was definitely a product I'd pay for and sent him some money. After all, designing and tweaking this software is worth something, and there is an actual cost for the webspace to host this great program.

There are other accessible Twitter clients out there. Two others I'm aware of are
Accessible Twitter
While I don't use these two products, I know other keyboard users who do and seem to like them just as much as I do Qwitter.

So, the answer is yes, tweeting has taken me away from blogging as much as I used to. I'm still connected to many of the same, fine sources as before, only now we're communicating 140 characters at a time.

How about you, are you you on Twitter? Follow me at:

1 comment:

Susabelle said...

I really miss the fact that a lot of bloggers have moved to Twitter. I have a twitter account but to be honest, I hate Twitter. I cannot keep up with the sheer flood of information, most of it useless, that flows through. I much prefer blogs, that I can read without interruption at individual sites. Maybe I'm in a minority, but I don't think Twitter should be taking over people's ability to blog important things. It takes a lot more than 140 characters to catch my interest in reading.