Social media – blessing or curse?

Like many these days, I’m an unashamed social media addict. (Well just two anyway – Twitter and Facebook. I’m on Instagram too but hardly use. Snapchat, Whatsapp & others are a total mystery to me. ) How did this happen and is it related to my Aspergers? My relationship to social media is strange. Well maybe not. I don’t actually post much, but spend/waste hours reading in the hope of finding something of interest or just to fill in odd minutes. On the whole, it serves its function well. It’s led to me contributing to an article in a national magazine and submitting my views on LGBT issues to a famous celebrity’s memoir, amongst other things! I do reply to others’ posts sometimes, but it takes me a while, often I have to think about my reply and do it hours later, sometimes the next day. I’m not a spontaneous person when it comes to language. If I reply straight away, I may think I haven’t worded it right or I’ve said something offensive – easily done by me, if I haven’t given it thought. I’ve written a few embarrassing things in my time. The whole point of social media is that it’s ephemeral and in the moment, so I kind of miss it. Sometimes the whole thing does my head in. Trawling through can be exhausting – all these people and issues. Also it can do the very opposite of what it’s intended to do – it can be isolating, because it seems everyone else is having more fun than me and I’m not included.
I was quite anti-the whole thing for years. I joined Facebook in 2007 but until last year, only had 10 friends on it: some cousins and random people I knew vaguely years ago. Last year I sent my first friend request. The word “friend” is too loaded: the thought of asking someone and them rejecting me was too much. I had enough of that at school. Now I know that Facebook is not real life, and “friend” has a different meaning. I’ve recently connected with loads of people, and realised you can use it to connect with groups and issues too. I still prefer Twitter: joined that in 2013 to follow my favourite singer, and gradually built up followers, mostly fans of said singer. Her fan club is Twitter-based: I blame that for getting me addicted! A tweet from them can literally make my day. I like the 140-character limit, brief and to the point. Now I’ve started following various people connected with the autism world too, and it’s a whole minefield, no wonder my head gets done in. I need to switch off in the evenings, in order to get some sleep. My partner is anti-social media and isn’t on any. The world kind of passes her by; she has a sweet innocence that a lot of us have lost. Most of the world passes me by too as I live in my head, but social media gives me the illusion of being just that little bit more connected.

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