Creating an account on Twitter was fairly easy, although it used a supposedly more accessible version of the annoying Captcha, called Re-Captca. This is discussed on the Web2Access site in their review of Twitter (http://www.web2access.org.uk/product/70/). There are two additional products: Accessible Twitter (http://www.accessibletwitter.com/) – Twitter optimized for users with disabilities, and Jawter (http://randylaptop.com/software/jawter-2/2/) – a plug-in for Jaws, the popular screen-reader from Freedom Scientific (http://www.freedomscientific.com/).
Web2Access rated Twitter very highly (http://www.web2access.org.uk/product/70/). It received a rating of 94% for those with blindness or severe visual impairments, and a rating of 89% for those with partial vision, or who experience the effects of visual stress. Accessible Twitter (http://www.web2access.org.uk/product/160) rated the same, at 94% for those with blindness or severe visual impairments, but rated much more highly at 100% for those with partial vision, or who experience the effects of visual stress. Accessible Twitter uses the same log-in utilizing Re-Captcha as original Twitter; thus its score for those with blindness or severe visual impairments did not improve.
Both Twitter and Accessible Twitter received scores of 100% for those who are deaf/hard of hearing on Web2Access. An application that offers difficulties or challenges to one group of people with disabilities may offer positive outcomes for those in another group.
My user-name on Twitter is MaryDen2, if anyone cares to follow. I didn’t have any difficulty using the hash-tag #ALA2009, and must admit, I had been curious about the term, and am glad I now know what it means.
I’ve had a negative impression of Twitter, simply because it is “everywhere.” I watch CNN, and it’s annoying to watch Rich Sanchez read one “pro” Twitter post on a topic, and then read one “negative” Twitter post on topic, thereby accomplishing his version of “fairness” in journalism. His account, along with those of other celebrities was the subject of some malicious hacking (http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/01/05/twitter.hacked/index.html) and a phishing scam. My favorite Twitter commentary is Conan O’Brien’s Twitter Tracker feature on the NBC Tonight Show, which demonstrates how inane silly short messages can be (http://www.twitter-tracker.com/).
Twitter is a current sensation, but doesn’t seem that different from IM. If I were required to use it, I would, but it doesn’t seem to meet any particular need for me at this time.