⌂ alexa heinrich

on hiatus

After a lot of thinking, I’ve decided that I’ll be taking an indefinite break from speaking engagements and giving presentations. This includes doing podcast interviews, writing guest posts, and participating on panels.

This decision wasn't one that I made lightly. I know the information I share about accessible best practices for social media is important, and I absolutely love the educational work I do, but it was high time that I was honest with myself.

Not only am I burnt out, but I'm bummed out as well.

It takes a lot of energy for me to effectively juggle a full-time job, running a business, and agreeing to as many speaking commitments as I do. Even after I cut back significantly on the number of speaking gigs I agreed to in 2023, it still didn't feel like enough. I exist in shades of exhaustion, which means I'm not properly prioritizing myself or my professional commitments the way I should be.

Plus, I'm going to admit that sometimes this all feels like incredibly thankless work. I know my peers in the accessibility community understand this feeling, but most of the time I feel like I'm screaming at a brick wall.

I'm a realist, and I've had to concede that we're still several years away from most digital marketers giving an actual damn about accessibility. For now, engagement and going viral still hold more value in the industry than accessibility and accountability (even if the latter two can help you more easily achieve the former two). And because that is a bitter pill for me to swallow in my current mental state, I'm choosing to spit the pill out entirely.

Until I'm more mentally recharged and my brain feels less like a plate of scrambled eggs, I'm going to attempt to have more personal time for myself. I will never stop being an advocate for accessible best practices for social media, and I will eventually come back to public speaking, but for the time being, I plan on doing my work in much less public ways and with far fewer deadlines involved. It's time I do things at a slower pace.

"Do not set yourself on fire to keep others warm," is a mantra I need to embrace.

So, to wrap this all up, thank you to the folks who have genuinely championed progress and accessibility, gratitude to the people who support my decision to take an indefinite break, and tough shit to anyone who has a problem with it. You'll live.

- Alex

Got questions?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't worry. I'm not going to disappear and leave you with nothing. You know that's not my style. I'm programmed to mother-hen the living daylights out of everyone. I've got you covered, friends.

If you're not giving presentations about accessible social media, where can I find more information about it on my own?

You should definitely visit the Accessible Social website. It's packed with countless resources, tips, and insights on how to create accessible social media content. I've even uploaded a video lesson that you can watch. If you're not sure where to start on the site, I recommend the Accessible Social quick guide.

Can people email you if they have a question about accessibility?

Yes, but only if you promise to check the Accessible Social website for answers first. A lot of my current mental exhaustion stems from being treated like some sort of Magic 8 Ball that has all the answers (when I definitely do not) or folks repeatedly asking me questions that are readily answered on the site. Don't be surprised (or offended) if I take a few days to answer your message. My executive disfunction kicks into high gear whenever I have to answer emails because anxiety is a fun life-partner.

I would also recommend joining the Accessible Social Facebook group. There are more than 2,500 amazing people in the group who are happy to help answer questions about accessibility when they can.

Will you still be around online like on social media?

Yes, but probably less. And if not less, I'll probably be posting about completely frivolous stuff like whatever infuriating thing my Sim has decided to do now or my cat's latest attempt to knock me over at the ankles.

What are you looking forward to most when you have more free time?

Oh gosh, where to start? For one, not skipping my lunch hour or using PTO to give presentations. That'll be nice. I do that way too frequently. I also can't wait to channel more of my time and energy into "unproductive" things like gardening and art projects. Oh and playing The Sims, too. Duh.