"You're In Charge" with Glenn Pasch
"You're In Charge" with Glenn Pasch

Episode 143 · 3 weeks ago

The Power of Accessible Social Media with Alexa Heinrich


Accessible Social Media. What is this exactly and why is it important. 

Well many people struggle with seeing, or hearing content online. By using certain strategies and tools, you content can connect with more people and thus grow your audience. 

Today Alexa Heinrich, Social Media Director for St Petersburg College share why this has become a passion for her and gives strategies to help you connect with this audience. She also shares her journey from Chicago to Florida and what it is like to handle social media for educational institutions. 

She is a fantastic individual, funny, engaging and a wealth of knowledge.

Enjoy, share, review and don't forget to subscribe!!!

About Alexa

Alexa Heinrich is an award-winning social media manager in Central Florida for St. Petersburg College (SPC), the creator of the websites Accessible Social and Social Media Tea, and the author of Accessible Social: a beginner's guide to creating inclusive social media content. She is a passionate advocate for creating accessible and inclusive content for social media and has given presentations on the subject to brands, organizations, and conferences around the world including Harvard University, the National ADA Symposium, John Deere, GoFundMe, and the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Recommended Reading: Demystifying Disability https://amzn.to/3v6ss91

Website: https://www.accessible-social.com/

Twitter: @HashtagHeyAlexa

About Glenn Pasch:

"Everyone finds themselves in charge at some point in their lives. Yet many of us lack the skills to generate consistent results. My goal is to help you learn the skills to adapt and grow in your personal and business life.”

Glenn Pasch is CEO of PCG Digital, a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in helping businesses create and deliver customers raving, recommending & returning for more. He is author of 2 books including "The Power of Connected Marketing" and has spoken and educated audiences throughout the US and internationally.

Let’s Connect:

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennpasch/

Personal Website http://glennpasch.com/

Company website: https://pcgdigital.com/

Support for this episode comes from PCG digital. As a business owner, you want to surround yourself with people who can help you achieve your goals when it comes to digital marketing. That's what PCG digital does best. If you want a true partner helping connect your message to more customers, then you need to reach out to PCG digital. Maximize your marketing dollars with PCG digital. Go to PCG DIGITAL DOT COM for more information, and don't forget to mention the you're in charge podcast. What is accessible social media? Now, from many of you you're saying, well, I see social media all the time, so I have access to it. But what if you really thought about those people that may have a disability? Maybe they're visually impaired, maybe they're using a device to read the content by using a knee reader pen, or maybe captions or maybe the descriptions on your pictures aren't rich enough so that they understand what content is. So some of your marketing is missing its audience because you haven't thought of how to create the content for those devices or for those individuals. So today I brought Alexa Heinrich. She is a digital marketing manager, a social media expert who has taken on accessible social media as her passion. She's written a new book about it, her website is about it, she talks about it a lot online. She's helping companies understand where we were in terms of using all tags and descriptions to help our content be accessible. are outdated. We have to step up our game and that's what her passion is and I think this is one of the most important topics that I've run across in a while and I'm so excited for her to be here. Can't wait for you to share the conversation I had. So let's dive into today's episode of you're in charge. Now what with Alexa Rick to learn about accessible social media. Okay, so first, Alexa, thank you so much for joining me today. I think this is a fascinating topic. It's a topic that not that I wasn't aware of. I think you've helped educate me since I've been following you and, you know, connected with you on twitter, about the importance of accessibility and social media. So give those listeners who would say I don't really understand what you're talking about. What is accessible social? So accessible social is really just making your content accessible for people who have sensory disabilities like, Um, if they're blind, they have low vision, their death hard of hearing, anything like that. So making sure that your content can be accessed by everyone on the Internet, not just people who have, you know, free use of their hearing or their site. So that's really been my passion for the last few years, is educating other people on how to make their content as inclusive as possible. So to that point, then, someone's sitting there thinking, okay, that makes absolute sense. You know, I never thought about it. You know, never thought about people who might be unable to see an image or read something and they're using readers or there. I mean I remember my son had, you know, when he was learning, he had a little bit of dyslexy, and we have one of those reader pens that you just sort of scan over things and it was very interesting how sometimes the words were jumbled because it couldn't read what it was seeing. So talk to me someone sitting here and they're saying that sounds great. How do I do it? Like, what is the important pieces to put together to make your content accessible? So there there's a lot of things that you can actually do. I think most of us are very familiar with caption since it's a very visible way of making audio or video accessible for someone who is death or hard of hearing or, in my case, I'm a visual learner, so I use captions for everything. Um. But there's also something called Alt texts. So all Texas basically the physical description of an image that's made like metadata on the back end when you post to twitter, facebook, any of the social media platforms at this point. Um. So, basically, a screen reader would come across the alt text and would use it to describe the picture accurately to the user. There is my favorite tactic, which is camel case hashtags. Um. So I remind people every Wednesday to put their hashtags in camel case, which just means that if you have a compound...

Hashtag like Hashtag social media rocks, you would be capitalizing the first letter in each of those three words so that a screen reader reads them separately and not as one long, mishmashed word. There's a lot of really like basic things that we can be doing, but it's also beyond that. When you create content, you you want to think about how it impacts everyone, not just someone who looks like you or has the same abilities as you, lives the same type as you. You really want to think beyond your own lived experience. So there's there's definitely a lot that we can we can do, but captions, all text makes your hashtags are formatic correctly, using emoji smartly. There's a lot out there. So on that. So let's talk about all texts because you know, I'm in the marketing field and I think all texts has expanded, and maybe because of this, because in the past it was just put a name or something in there so that Google or whatever search engine knew what the picture was about. But it was red car or you know, you tried to put your company name into it. So maybe that came up in search. From learning from and I'm holding this up for those of you watching, Alexa has written a very great book that you should get. It's called accessible social a beginner's guide to creating inclusive social media content. Um, you've expanded my view of really how in depth Alt tagging or that description should be, because if someone is unable to see or blurry or things of nature, a red car doesn't mean anything but a red car or a red corvette. You know, on a beach the sun is signing, a woman is standing next to it in a blue dug. Whatever you're doing, you're really trying to paint that picture for the person who can't see. Um. Am I correct? And I is. This. Is this you were pushing people to or or suggesting people uh to be doing? Yes, I actually had someone bring this up today saying I thought that because I was saying how linkedin has a character limit for their all text field and it's it's very limiting if you have a complex image you want to describe. And this person said, well, I thought it was supposed to be concise when you write all texes like. Well, it depends on your image. It's going to be different every single time. So all text is definitely evolved over time and you can kind of tell that it has because there are people who's to call still call it an alt tag, but originally an alt tag was for images on websites and it was it wasn't even for Google. It was so that if your page didn't load properly, your images didn't load, you would still have that designation of what was supposed to be there. So it's because, you know, the Internet wasn't always very fast and ours were very clunky in the bog so it took a while to load, and that's what that all tag was and then it evolved to being an s c o tactic where you could designate something with a certain tag and then it was indexed by Google or other search engines. And now it's really, really more about creating accessible images. So you want to be descripted if you want someone to understand the context and the value of your image in you know, in addition to whatever you're written post is so right. Okay, so I'm gonna throw out the big elephant in the room here that everybody's going to say is, well, I don't have time right. So I mean, I do it. I funny enough, I hear your voice in the back of my head. Now I can actually hear your voice. I see your twitter, your tweets, coming at me, going a description, description, and I even at the pace that I'm trying to do things, I fall short. But I feel guilty now because you put it in my head that you know people should you know you should be thinking of everyone. But is it just is it a combination of people don't really understand it or people just say I don't have time or I don't want to say don't care, but why? Why is this not happening? More and more? I see you've, you know, you've yelled at the White House even for their twitter and things of that nature. So just trying to figure out why you think it doesn't happen as much as it should. I think there's definitely a lack of education, and that's because a lot of people who work in social media who you know, are my age or older, you know on thirty one. So I didn't get a degree in social media and I and the platforms weren't where they are now when I started using social media. Instagram didn't have an all text field into until two thousand...

...eighteen. Up until two thousand twenty you had to activate the all text field on twitter. So there's still people who are catching up. And then just the lack of knowing what is all texts were. You know, we're social media marketers. Were not web developers, and that's kind of who knows about accessibility for the web? Is a web developer, but it's now, you know, it's spilled over into social media. So there's definitely a lack of understanding. But then just the lack of support that a lot of people who work in social media get for creating content. I frequently tell people when I present on the subject it is not just the responsibility of the person who pushes the final button or published the final post. Everyone within the content creation process, from an intern all the way up to the CMO, needs to care about accessibility, and that way you have a really good group of people who understand the importance of it and can reinforce the value behind accessibility and make sure it's done right now. I I love that word value and I hope everyone heard that. The two things I just pulled out of what you just said. One is alignment from top to bottom that accessibility is important, so that then, hopefully, will counteract what I just talked about, is this sense of lack of time because I just have to get the posts out or I have to get the content out and we have to push it, as you said, or it's not. That's not my job. My job is to write the content and someone else does this Um. So I think that alignment from top to bottom that accessibility is important. And then I I agree it's this idea of education, because for many people it still is just make sure that you have an old tag, simple as possible, concise. Just so, to your point earlier, if the image doesn't low, we can still see what the images or Google can see all of the pieces. I think what I really admire about your passion with all of this and and and really stepping out and embracing this and educating others is this idea we are forgetting a large portion of our society that has some potential handicap. It could just be the fact, to your point, it's easier for me to read captions than listen or I can watch it when I'm you know, I don't want to have the volume up or if I have a reader pen or I need some help. You're going out of your way with your content to think of me and I think that's really important. Versus just well, and I think you said it perfectly, is just pushing it out to the audience that I know and whoever gets it gets it. The rest of them doesn't matter. or I just I have other things to do. I can't worry about that. I really, really admire this. So so where did this start for you? How did you all of a sudden become the advocate so to speak, in on marketing twitter that I've seen, you're one of the few people that is really banging the drum. Other people have followed you and talked about it, but you know you're out there leading the charge. So where did this come from? Well, I previously worked in Chicago for a very large community college system and part of my job, in addition to social media, as we all know, we wear a lot of hats, was to handle some of the digital assets on our homepage, so like websiders essentially, and I would just upload these images make sure that they had the right information and linked to the right page. And I was doing this a few years ago and the digital strategies on my team asked me if I was adding all texts to the images and I just looked at her and was like, I have no idea what you're talking about. I have a degree in advertising art direction, which just means I'm a bossy graphic designer. I had no web experience, you know, I I had no idea, and she explained it like how we originally know all Texas, you know, if it doesn't load, it'll tell us what's there. And then she's like, Oh, and it also makes image accessible, and I just kind of picked up on that word accessible and I remember going home and doing all this research into what all text was and when it met for the Internet and when it met for the disabled community and because social media was such a primary part of my role, as like, can I do this with social media posts? And I distinctly remember crying because I felt so guilty that I was possibly, possibly being a barrier for someone getting an education. Now, realistically that's probably not true, but it still broke my heart to think that I was creating, you know, ideal content for some one who can't see an image. So from there I just...

...started to learn more. I hopped all over the Internet trying to find information on accessibility in relations to social media content specifically, and then I just never stopped talking about it. So well, when you first did that search a few years ago, when you were in Chicago, and we'll talk about your you know, working in in in schools doing this Um, was there a lot of content or did you find very little information about accessibility all text? Yes, I'm sure you could have found hundreds and hundreds of things, because it was a web developer or very early on Seo, because our company started really as an Seo shop early on and that's all they talked about is Seo, all tags. It's good for SEO. No one ever talked about this help accessibility. It was ranking, ranking, ranking, that's all that anybody cared about. So any of the things that you could do to rank better. All in but was are a lot of content out there for for this topic. Um, most of the information that I found around accessibility for the web was for the web, for websites, for APPs. It wasn't really specific to social media, which is what I really wanted. I found blogs here and there from other advocates on very specific topics, so how a screen reader engages with emoji. I found things about camel case Hashtags, but I was bouncing all over the Internet. It was very frustrating, which is why I started to write about it more. And then I had my old personal website had all this information on it, and then just this year I decided, okay, we need an actual website for all of this, and that's how I built accessible social because I knew I was gonna be launching the book and in my head the book is going to be outdated within who knows how quickly. It's probably already outdated. I needed something to compliment it that I could update on a frequent basis, and the accessible social website gets updated weekly with information. Yeah, we've we've written books too, and it feels as soon as you write something on digital marketing or any marketing, as soon as you publish it, you go oh my goodness, I remember when Google was Google, my business and now it's business profile, but even back then it was changing. Literally we had to pull it back before it got printed and we said, Oh, we have to change all of this, and then we started thinking along the lines of well, you can put out your printed book or we're going to have an updated pdf always on the website at someone to download, because everything keeps changing and evolving. So it if when you talk to organizations or when you're speaking about this topic, I follow you, as they said, on twitter and I you know, you see you've been speaking recently and you do a lot. From from what you're saying, you know you're constantly doing, uh, webinars, are you doing podcasts like this one, or you're out there face to face talking about two part question. What's the reception from the audience? Individuals and then what's the reception from, say, companies that may reach out to you and talk to you about how to do this better? Usually the reception is pretty good. I think in the beginning, Um, when I was just kind of yelling on twitter, it was a little less of a warm reception just because you're just like yeah, I think that's when my twitter bio says I yell about accessibility because it is that is my persona. I yell a lot Um, but I think a lot of originally a lot of markers, felt like I was telling them to stop, you know, being creative, which is not the case. If anything, creating accessible content makes you more creative because you think harder about your content and who is going to be engaging with it. But now I get a lot of people who are really excited to hear about what I want to talk about. I just spoke at a conference in San Francisco and I did two sessions, one on accessible social media and then one on the business that I run with my friend Austin, and he was watching me during the first one. He's like, it was so funny when you were done with your presentation, because I had people come over to me after I got off stage wanting to talk to me and the next presenter was getting ready to start and I was like, okay, well, why don't we go out into the lobby so we don't, you know, disturb this presentation? He's like all I see is you leave the room with like a little trail of ducklings following you because they all wanted to talk to me. Um, as far as brands and companies go, I try really hard to be polite when I do reach out, like if I see something bad on twitter. Um. So, you know, I want to educate people. I don't want to Scoll to people unless they're doing something really, really bad, but usually polite...

...like hey, you know, I saw that you did this. Maybe consider doing this in the future. So I did that with betten Jerry's UH, like months and months ago, and they were super receptive. They thanked me, they said we'll pass this on to the digital team and then they had someone reach out to me privately and like we really appreciate your feedback and sharing this information. Here is, UH, some coupons for some free ice creams. That I mean, they already had me as a fan. So are you reaching out or do you think this is an avenue where, you know, I know you're already you're you're working at St Petersburg, you know, the school handling their social media. But is this something that you're thinking is a potential business opportunity where consultative, you know, someone calls you up and says, will you look at what we're doing and can you give us a ice? Is this something that you're thinking of building into, not just a business because it is helping people, but, you know, consulting for companies who have absolutely no idea, not just they don't know that they should be doing it. I think there's a lot of possibilities where someone's going to say, can you help us implement this, or come in and educate our almost like teaching, going in and teaching them how to do this. Is this something that you're thinking about potentially doing? So I alread get a lot of digital teams for different organizations reaching out to me to give them training, essentially Um and every time I think about doing it full time, I just remind myself that I really, really like having an employer handle my health insurance. To be with you, yes, I don't. I don't know if I'd be a very good freelancer. I'm not very disciplined when it comes to that. Um, my calendar looks like someone you know keeped it up, honestly, with how many different things I'm juggling. So but I do charge for my training, so I do it on the side, Um, and just maintain my nine to five job. So listen, companies out there, people who want education on this, please reach out. We'll we'll put all of her contact information in the show notes. But this is really important and I think a lot of companies are are missing out on this or not realizing how important this is and, more importantly, how important it can be for you to stand out, because this whole section of the Uh of the companies you know and the individuals who are out there are looking to your company and they could feel relegated and not part of it. Then you'll stand out more if you're actually helping them. I think that's a phenomenal uh mission. And, as I said, well, we'll hook up the book as well here. So let's pivot a little bit. Schools. It seems like you've you've stuck with doing so social for colleges and things of that nature, versus, say, Bennon Jerry's or something along that line. So how did you end up in marketing for colleges and what does that look like on a on a day to day basis versus? Let's use Ben and Jerry's because you mentioned it before. So I again. I have a bachelor of Fine Arts degree in advertising art direction. I am basically a graphic designer by trade and when I graduated from college a decade ago, I was looking specifically for graphic design positions and I applied for a position with city colleges of Chicago. So it's the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation. They had a junior designer position open in their marketing department, so I joined them and that's how I got entigher education and I kind of moved around within the organization. So I was a designer and then I went to academic affairs for a little bit because the pro post realized I had memorized all of the curriculum, so they poached me and then, Um someone else came into the marketing department and I was still visiting all of my old co workers all the time and just really liked me and my energy. So she brought me back Um and basically asked me, what do you want to do with this position? And I was already on social media all the time. I was doing side hustles and running my own social for my own side businesses. It's like, I want the social media because it needs help. It was just kind of like a bulletin board at that point and I wanted to help it. I thought it could be better. So she gave me the social media and I just went from there. So I've been in higher education. It was the city colleges for almost six years and then I've been with St Pete a little over three years now. So let's let's think about this for a moment.

So, as I said, a lot of people who listen to this are in charge or they're finding themselves saying, all right, great, I'm taking over the social for my company. M Hm. So when you're talking about City College, you're saying it was a bulletin board, there wasn't really much to it and you said, okay, I'm taking over the social media and you transformed it. So walk me through. What are some of the things that you did, from analyzing what they did to creating a plan and then also some of the campaigns because again, at the end of the day, the college is a product and you're trying to market them to say you should come to school here. So walk me through some tactical things or some things that you would share with somebody who might be in your that type of a seat that might help them, you know, achieve their goals. So, for the most part, a lot of what the colleges, the city college is a district which I was over, and then seven colleges which I had access to, but they were running kind of by volunteers. A lot of the content that was being posted was very clinical, very dry, very much about and you know, no shade to my former co workers, because they were balancing a lot. Social media was kind of an afterthought. Um, it was a lot of just registration information, sign up for classes. This is when scholarships are due. So my biggest thing when I took over the social media was I wanted to be more engaging. I wanted to engage with our students, with our faculty and staff. I wanted to develop actual personas or voices for the individual colleges because they're very different. They're in different locations around the city, and then I wanted to showcase more just of student life, like it's not just going to classes and registering and graduating, like we do fun things. There were in different areas Chicago. We lived by the lake, like there's a lot going on. So I just wanted to bring more personality to those accounts, and that's basically what I did, and I think the best example of that was we had a massive polar war tax um. The colleges all had to close because it was too cold to leave our houses. It was like negative fifty and uh, I basically hopped onto all the twitters and I made all the mascots that they had talked to each other about how cold they were and we need to do group puddle. Is the kitchen on at this place? We could use it to bake cookies, stuff like that. So and I was just basically talking to myself and one of the presidents remarked about how funny they thought it was that I got all the colleges like how did you manage that? As like that was just me and he didn't realize that. He's like, but they all sound different. was like, I know, that's yeah, I had a lot of different personalities up here. So yeah, I just wanted to bring more personality and fun to the accounts, because social is about being social and that wasn't happening. So I was really happy to be able to do that with all of those accounts. There's a lot of accounts to know, but I think that's such a wonderful point. As they said. Those of you listening you know sometimes when we get telling stories I'd like to pull out and really highlight some of the fine points. But what you just said was really important is the personality. You know, I remember, and I tell this story all the time, I was a waiter for a long time in New York City because I was an actor for a while. So of course you work in restaurants and I was mentored by this very successful restaurant tour and he, you said, this was way before social media, but he said, you know, at the end of the day, there's so many places where you could buy a good steak you go. So it's not the stake, it's what surrounds it. It's that personality and we have to understand what it is. We have to market that then we have to deliver on that because the next time someone comes in, they've been told this is a great place. We have to do that. And so for everybody listening, whatever your product or your services, people really want to know what it's like to do business with you. What's your personality? Who are the people when I interact with you? And so I love that about colleges, because you're right, a lot of them default to here's our curriculum, here's what it's gonna get you if you come here, versus. I like that idea of what's in between the classes. What do you what's Your Life gonna be like, your day to day life? I think that's such a great selling point for colleges, but I think it's a great lesson for everyone who's listening, because I can buy unless you have the most unique product, I can buy it in a million different places,...

...and so I have to understand why I should do business with you, and part of that is what surrounds that product. So I really applaud that. I think that's such a great lesson to be learned. Yeah, yeah, it was. It was a lot of fun. I think one of the most fun moments I had decides the polar cortex was Um Nicki Minaj paid for the tuition of one of our students and people were freaking out about it, of course, and there was a student who said I wish that I because the student had tweeted Nicki Minaj. There was a student who said in the comments of the Post, I wish I could tweet John Snow and have him pay for my tuition, and I responded as the college and said, well, you can. It's called sending a crow. And everyone was freaking out like did did the college account just make a game with throwing reference? That's like, yes, I did, yes, I did. I just watched it and I know what that reference was. But See, I think that's the point and and, and you've said it a few times, is social media is social. It's supposed to be fun. When it becomes to clinical, when it just becomes give me, give me, sign up, sign up, sign up, I think that's where the we all become disconnected, because now you're just marketing at me versus involving me. You know, we really want, I'm hoping that people really are getting from what you're saying, is that social media is like peering through the fence and going, Oh, I want to go over there, what's happening over there? That engages, that makes me want to learn more about your school, your product, your service, and I think that's really, really fascinating. So then talk to me about the jump. How did you go from freezing cold Chicago and the polar vortex is too lovely, St Pete? So the House I live in Um was technically my grandparents house for thirty years before I moved down here my parents about six or seven years ago. They had retired. They bought the house from my grandmother, who was living in this big house by herself, so she could downsize. They remodeled the house and then I was like okay, I don't like living in the cold anymore and I don't like being, you know, twelve hundred miles away for mom and dad. So I very like casually just started to look occasionally for jobs in the area and I saw this listing for the social media manager position at St Petersburg College and I was like, Oh, I know that place. I've passed one of their campuses before when I go to visit my parents. So I applied and interviewed over you know zoom, and thankfully they liked me, and then I came down here three years ago. So down there with the warmth and everything else like that. It's toasty here today. I walked outside and instantly got covered in a layer of sweat. Is Very odd. Well, you know, it's funny. My son is uh, he's a senior this year. He's going into a senior year and we've been looking at colleges and that's the one thing. You know, I'm in based in New Jersey, and that's his same thing. He says, if there's snow, it's a No. He doesn't you know. So we were down in uh, in Tampa, looking at schools and we were looking in California and wherever, but he's the same way. He's like, I don't like the snow, I don't like cold, I like the warmth. And I said, okay, well, we'll figure that out. Maybe Florida will be good for you. And you know, yeah, I will say that. You know, I did swap polar of war taxes for hurricanes and my coworkers think to think it's funny because I haven't had a real hurricane yet. So every time we like get the warning, I'm like, I'm terrified, but I'm kind of excited just to no. No, I know that's a weird one. I don't know how excited I'd be. I mean I was. I saw um a tornado once when I was traveling and it was out and I saw the damage. Afterwards. I said no, it looked cool and you think, Oh, look at the wind, but you think, you know, it's the movie twister, and then you're thinking I could potentially die. I don't really think I want to be out here in the middle of all this. So one last question before we wrap up. So you're very, as they said, very active on twitter. There's a great group that you know. I've had a few other of the marketing twitter or some people that I follow in in this group on the podcast as well. How do you balance, or do you balance? So let me take a step back. Do you balance? Because you're very opinionated about your personality, your your personal life, your politics, your business, your thoughts on accessible social as you said, you're you're, you're, you are not shy with your voice. How does one balance that with your school? Does your school not care or is it something that you you get me the way I am? How to does that work, because I...

...know there are some companies that frown on that or force people into not being who they are, and I was just curious what your thoughts are about that. So I'm very careful about what I put out there. Obviously I work for a public institution in the State of Florida. We have a lot going on right now, to say the least. So I'm usually pretty careful about not directly talking about politicians here in the state. Um, I keep it pretty broad for the most part. I try not to be too opinionated during working hours, but my bosses do follow me on twitter and they do engage with me on twitter. Um, so I'm just I just know how to tell the line and I know when the woman is show. But and I of course, never let my personal opinions affect any of the social media content that I put out. I'm very proud of the fact, especially because I am in Florida, where we're very political state. Um, you know, if the governor comes to visit, we, you know, thank him for coming, we thank him for whatever he's there for. Um, there's been a lot of stuff with higher education recently with Florida, different grants. So yeah, I'm not going to let my personal thoughts affect the content that I put out for how I engage with people. So I'm very, very careful about that. But my my co workers and my leadership are super supportive of my life outside of the college and they think it's great what I'm doing. Every time I see our president she's always like Oh, there's our little superstar. So she thinks it's wonderful and she's super supportive of it and she keeps trying to like make my boss like put something in our internal newsletter and I'm like, don't do that, like we don't need to do it. It's weird when it's coming from the marketing department. Let's talk about ourselves. No, but I think that the point that you know what what I'm mean. For my company, same thing. I want to encourage people to be who they are, but there are, you know, some guidelines, because you do represent the company. I know there are some that are very strict and some people are very loose. So I'm always curious how to how people navigate that and I I think you do a phenomenal job of balancing that because I get a sense of who you are. But you're not, you know, we've all seen people who go out there and it's just a full finger pointing, screaming and yelling, and you know, sometimes I wonder what's point B for that and let you know, especially on twitter. But I think you do a phenomenal job of balancing who you are, really getting a sense of who you are, plus standing up for a cause like accessible social and and and I think you represent your school very well, so you should be very proud of yourself about that. Thank you. I also try just not to like be such and such as point blank a and just insulting people. So I want to come off as articulate and intelligent, even fine, really mad about something. Well, you can disagree, and I think that's where a lot of what's happening on social media and why some people are turned off by it Um is that it just seems like it's an argument. And I always wonder, well, if you were at a cocktail party and you started having is this the way you would handle yourself or would you have a discussion and would you have you know, it's okay to disagree, because I'm sure even I mean, I can speak for myself. I have very close friends like we agree on probably a lot of things, but those and it's not politics, it's just the way you raise your kids or the way you do this or the way you do that or the way you carry yourself. But that's what the beauty is. It's okay to disagree, it's when it becomes insulting Um and I think we've just slipped a little bit into just the whole news cycle. And you know, social media has become a lot of this finger pointing, because I don't think one, you hide behind avatars and number two is, uh, if you were really in front of somebody, I don't know you'd say some of those things. I just have a hard time believing you would. Yeah, and I think the big thing that a lot of people forget about social is that you don't have to be part of our conversation. You don't have to respond to everyone. I had a tweet the other day that I ended up muting my own tweet because it was about gun safety laws in Illinois because of what happened on Fourth of July, and of course I had people coming out of the woodwork to yell at me. I don't respond to them, I just mute them. We're obviously not going to see eye to eye on this. So I'm not going to have a discussion with you, I'm just going to move on with my life because it's it's just the Internet. Oh, and I agree, and I think that's a great lesson also for your marketing, if you, you know, for those of you listening who are in charge of marketing or even owners of company or leaders and companies that are trying to figure out the message. You know, really get back to what Alexa was talking about earlier. What's the personality of your...

...brand? You know, what? What? Why should someone do business with you? You know, going down rabbit holes, you know, I remember I do a lot of work with car dealers and you know, somebody said, listen, Democrats and Republicans all buy cars, so why am I going to offend half of the audience I want? They got to come buy cars from me too. So it's that idea of whatever your personal beliefs are, and I think that's such a great point to as we wrap this up, is whatever your personal point of view is, that's yours, that's your personal thing, but you're employed by someone and you're trying to market your product and service to who your audience is. So know your audience. Have a message. But again, where we started was make sure that everyone's included. You know, make your content accessible, not just accessible, like you're saying, in reading or an image. Think beyond that. What if somebody can't see this? What if the font is too small? What if captions are better than all D oh? Well, you know, all of these different things versus just more content, more content, more content. I'd rather see great content for everyone, less of it, then more and more and more. That is cutting out a certain portion of the population. Yes, I totally agree. It's quality over quantity and it takes time and that's one of the things that, as I said earlier, I think a lot of people forget. I, though, would challenge to say that. It probably doesn't take any more time if it's part of your process and you just say, well, I'm going to take care of it. As you said, I don't need to write a novel for the image unless it dictates that. But very few images need all of these things. It's just very clear. Okay, so listen. First off, I want to thank you for being here. This is a great conversation. I love the fact that you shared some really tactical things as I said, we're going to set it up in the in the show notes, but I highly recommend a LEX's book on accessible social it's it's easy read, but it's tactical. It's great. I showed it to a couple of people and they were I and quotes. I didn't realize that I was not doing this because they were still stuck in the let me just all tag it. They were their eyes open and said, oh my God, almost embarrassed that they didn't know about this. So I think your mission, you're really helping a lot of people, uh, not just on the receiving end, but I think you're really helping a lot of the marketers open up their eyes to say, Oh, I didn't realize, and a lot of those people are going to jump right on it. So before we leave, at the end of every show, we ask five questions. I call them the one so whatever one comes to mind, whatever answer, just do it. Don't overthink it. Are you ready? Okay, great, now, you said you know you're you're young, still young, but I always focus on because my son, my oldest son, just went through this whole ten to eleventh grade. In ten to eleventh grade is a very transitional period for a lot of individuals. So if you look back at your tenth Eleventh Grade Self, even though it's not that long ago, but it's still, you know, fifteen years somewhere in there along math is off today. Um, what's a consistent trait that's still there? And then the second part of the question is that fifteen, sixteen year old Alexa looking at you now, what would they go? Oh my God, that's different. So I'm still bold and outspoken, I still have run my mouth. That's definitely to keep part of my personality from birth to now. Um, I've always been that way. Um, I think sixteen year old Alex would just be amazed by how competent and ambitious I am. I specifically remember we had to do some sort of like a literally Asian lesson in middle school and I have an a name and I couldn't think of something that worked for that and I remember my teacher at the time suggesting, well, what about ambitious? I'm like, oh no, no, no, that's not me. I don't subscribe to that word. And now I don't think that my body can contain the amount of ambition I have. So see, I love that. I love that because that's really important for younger people to hear, because, you know, my son is fairly confident. He's shy, but he's fairly confident, depending where he is. He's on the basketball court, he's incredibly confident. But if you told him I have to give you stand up in front of somebody and speak, like no way. But I think that arc they don't see where they're going to get to and all the different experiences that will open up. And so I think that's a great point for those younger who are listening or new to business who are out there. You know, ambition. It takes work, but you'll get there and and it's exciting about that. Okay, next to one now I saw on twitter your trauma with traveling on an...

...airplane. I saw that the other day. Um, your please get me off of this plane. But assuming that we could remove that trauma of flying, where? where? Where's one place in the world you would love to travel too? I would really love to travel to France. Um, I did genealogy for my family a few years ago. My Dad is a German. He's very proud of that, whereas my mother is very like a mixed bag of Europe. So I did it right after college and I lost my father's family somewhere in like the hundreds. My Mother's family made it all the way back to Charlottegne. So we are descended from Norman Vikings, which are like the original French Vikings. Oh, I've always really wanted to visit northern France and just kind of see where my mother's family came from and eat some really good food. So Yeah, France is definitely on the list. Well, we gotta work on that whole flight thing because, but, but, listen, in the amount of time it took you to get to San Francisco you could almost be to France. So if you, and people have told me, compression socks, compression socks, compression socks, compression socks, and taking an overnight flight where you can sleep and you wake up and go, okay, we're here. Okay, that's bad. We'll do that. Um, okay, tell me something that you are reading, watching or listening to that's inspiring you that you would recommend to the audience. Oh, that's a hard one. Um, reading. I recently finished a book. I've been really bad about reading with pandemic. It's kind of shot my attention span. But I cannot recommend the book demystifying disability enough by Emily ladd out so, who is now a friend of mine through twitter. Her book is just so good and really helped me, as an advocate and an ally, kind of think about disability a lot deeper. So it's it's just an excellent book and it was so easy for me to read and I just devoured it, which I loved because it's been really hard for me to get into, you know, sitting for an extended period of time of reading. But yeah, demystifying disability, I've recommended it to a lot of people now. I recommended it to our D I team at the college and they ordered several copies. So it's an excellent book and I highly suggest anyone who wants to be a better advocate or ally or accomplice, whatever you want to call yourself, to read her book. It is we will put that into the show notes as well. Okay, two more. If I gathered all of your friends, family, close people who really know you and asked them to describe you in one word, what's the one word they would use to describe you? Loud and I don't know. You didn't even hesitate. You didn't even head. You just want thought of my cousins and what they would probably say, particularly my father, what he would say. You'd probably say loud. That one. Alright. Last one, Um. We talked about a lot of different things and, like I said, very important issues, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you being here. There's been a lot of fun. Um. If, if the if you wanted the audience to get one thing out of our conversation, what's the one thing you hope they take away from this episode? When it comes to creating accessible social media content, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. When you get in trouble for not having accessible content or your brand gets sued, your company gets sued for not being accessible, it's best to start now and not wait until later when it becomes a legal issue. I love that. Love that, and well, we know the guide book to help you and we'll put that in the show notes, as they said. So again, Alexa, thank you so much. This has been so much fun and and, like I said, I can sit here and chat with you for for a long time. So, Um, tell everyone where they can connect with you. Tell them where they can get the book and how they can reach out to you if they have questions about this. Sure. So my accessibility website is accessible dash social dot com. You can find my personal website at the Real Alexa Dot Com. Yes, that is me throwing shade at the company that stole my name. Um, and then I'm on twitter as at Hashtag K Alexa, so you actually have to write out Hashtag K Alexa. Again, another throwing of shade at the company that took my name. So I chat with everyone every day...

...about accessibility. I answer questions every day about accessibility. So I'm always more than happy to engage with new social media users who want to learn more. And folks, please do connect. One I love following on twitter. It's a lot of fun. She's very open. I still still thinking of the travel whole saga. That made me laugh so hard. Um. But also, you're doing you're doing great work and and really appreciate that. So, audience, uh, you know how we end everything. Please make sure there are definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely people in your network who could benefit from this conversation. So please make sure you share this episode. Please make sure you connect with Alexa, please make sure your review and uh, you know, review the podcast. Make sure you subscribe to it also over on Youtube. You know, you can listen to this anywhere where podcasts are being shared. We're there as well. I appreciate your attention. It means the world to me that you hung out with us to day. I know there's a lot of places you can consume content and, as they say at the end of every episode, you are in charge. So anytime that you're sitting there going what am I supposed to do now, while we're here every single week with conversations with guests like Alexa, to help you become better at what you do, both personally and professionally, and become the leader that you want to be. Thank you so much for listening, Alexa. Thanks so much again. I look forward to meeting you in person one of these days and thank you again and we'll see you next episode. Take care.

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