#a11ychat How-to Guide

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Last month we had record participation in our monthly #a11ychat on Twitter, and we hope you all keep coming back. For those of you who are new to Twitter or the concept of a "tweetchat" - perhaps even a little intimidated by the whole thing - we've got your back. Here is a handy little guide to the art of the tweetchat.

1. First, you need a Twitter account. Go to Twitter.com, give them your name, a username, a password, and voila! You have a Twitter account. If you'd like a more in-depth guide, and some tips on what to do with your Twitter account after you've set it up, please take a look at Twitter's Help Center guide to setting up and account.

2. You'll want to follow Deque on Twitter - @dequesystems so you know what the subject of each #a11ychat will be, if there's any recommended reading, who will be involved, and if there are any changes to the schedule.

3. On the third Monday of the month, from 5-6pm EST, you will want to tune into #a11ychat. To do this, type "#a11ychat" into the searchbar. At the top of the page where it says "Tweets Top/All/People you follow," select "All". This will show you every tweet that is using the #a11ychat hashtag whether you're following the person or not. This allows you to participate and see all chat messages without having to follow everyone involved in the chat.

4. If you have a question or comment you would like to contribute to the #a11ychat, you will want to include the #a11ychat hashtag so that those of us following the tweetchat will be able to see what you've written.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "What exactly is a hashtag?" A hashtag is a term or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign that is meant to track trending topics. You can see tweets using any hashtag by entring the hashtag into the Twitter search bar. If a TV show wanted to track Twitter conversations about the show, they might encourage people to use the TV show's title as a hashtag; e.g., #GameofThrones, #30Rock, #ParksandRec, etc.

If you wanted people across Twitter to answer a specific question or tweet about a specific topic, you would want to encourage the use of a hashtag; e.g., #myfavoritesandwich, #feministpickuplines, etc. And of course, there are many people who use or invent hashtags ironically, and don't actually intend to participate in any kind of trending topic. Here at Deque, we use our hashtags unironically and we hope you will too! At least when it comes to the #a11ychat hashtag.

The November #a11ychat takes place on Monday the 19th, at 5 PM EST. The topic is "Accessibility Certification: Good Idea or Bad Idea?" If you would like more information on the November #a11ychat - including the recommended reading - please visit the November Tweetchat blog post.

Lastly, if you would like to keep up-to-date with Deque:

 

About 

Caitlin is an "Accessibility Decoder" at Deque Systems. She joined the team back in 2011 and has taken on a variety of roles over the years. These days she spends her time exploring the best ways to communicate accessibility ideas and solutions to the general public.

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