Social media, Aspergian social anxiety

I read an update on Google+ that a friend and fellow Aspergian has decided to withdraw from ALL social media, including Google+.  While I understand it, this saddens me.  I’m actually not on Google+ that terribly often.  I tend to hang out on Facebook.  But I always enjoyed this person’s occasional posts to Google+.  Another fellow Aspergian of my acquaintance, who is a mental health professional, swears by Google+ in preference to Facebook, stating that the average I.Q. on Google+ is far above that of the average Facebook user.  I use it sparingly, mainly because I don’t find it nearly as intuitive or user friendly as Facebook.

Social media, as I’ve alluded to before, can be a double-edged sword for us.  It can help us connect to other ASD people, which can be a positive experience.  Some ASD people swear by Wrong Planet, but I never really got into it all that much.  Some of our blogging collective members here even had less than positive experiences there.  I think perhaps it got a much needed boost when Kirsten Lindsmith joined it; she wrote some interesting posts there that I followed for a time, but my center of gravity revolves around Facebook, where I avidly follow Landon Bryce and Karla’s ASD page, and where we, members of this blogging collective, hang out in Houston Aspie Discussion on Facebook.

I have a YouTube page but stopped actively posting my own videos years ago.  I still post one every so often but I nearly never interact with other YouTube users; I ignore all comments, messages, etc.  Other people besides myself have described YouTube (and its more pernicious commentators) as “a cesspool”.  I just don’t have the patience or mental energy to deal with the YouTube community, such as it is.  I used to follow a lot of the YouTube atheists; it was my primary form of entertainment of an evening when I was still living in Denton, Texas–when I wasn’t watching Anime on rental DVD, that is.

While I have never up and #ragequit Facebook, there are times where I definitely feel the need to withdraw and give myself a “vacation” from Facebook.  Occasions where I feel like I’ve overexposed myself socially and need to pull back from the limelight for awhile.  I definitely try to avoid Facebook during times of political drama or tension on the national stage.

I still have a MySpace and even a Livejournal but nearly never use them.  I sometimes jump back on to MySpace to amuse myself.  I should just up and delete my Livejournal, though.  Nobody uses that anymore–not really–am I right?

I play around on Twitter but I really only barely understand what I’m doing.  I live tweet during Houston Rockets home games but seldom otherwise.  I sometimes check my Twitter feed at lunch…

Some of my twitter exploration lately; me: “Hey, I wonder if (insert name of well-known person in a particular pet interest field of mine [anime,atheism,lefty politics,etc]) is on Twitter…*searches*, oh look! *follow*…”

Twitter also provides suggestions of other people/organizations to follow based on who you’ve already decided to follow, which is also helpful.

It’s neat when someone semi-famous re-tweets your tweet or responds to one of your tweets, too.

The videos I contribute to YouTube historically have been some digitized home movies; more recently I’ve done Animations via the website Xtranormal.com; Xtranormal used to be completely free, but now it’s a pay site.  I finally broke down and bought some X.P. so I can keep using the site infrequently.  I still don’t feel comfortable using a webcam to put my actual face out there the way that Ankh does.  I still prefer to obscure my face using special effects via the webcam; I also bought voice-changing software, MorphVoxPro.  It’s designed for gamers to enhance online gameplay, and on my old PC that I had with me in Denton, Texas, I was able to get MorphVoxPro to “play nice” with my video-capture software…but alas with Windows 7, I have thusfar been unsuccessful in getting MorphVoxPro to “play nice” with either my Logitech webcam NOR with my Microsoft one’s audio-capture ability and attached USB microphone…I really dislike the sound of my own voice.  When I was able to intergrate the voice changer along with obscuring my face via Special Effects (and usually i wore sunglasses and headwear–baseball cap or painter’s hat), that arrangement was comfortable enough for me to do videos for YouTube and elsewhere in that fashion…but now that I’m not able to make that work and lack the mad computer skillz to MAKE it work, I’ve fallen back on Xtranormal and on my writing skills to put my views and opinions “out there”.

Some Aspies are more skilled than others at negotiating the internet and its various social outlets.  Some are more easily overcome by social anxieties aroused by internet interactions than others.   It can be a boon for some ASD people, but it is also quite alright to give oneself a “break” from it all, or, in the most extreme cases, to withdraw from it altogether.  I respect whatever choice works best for the individual in question.  No one can really decide that for you.

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One thought on “Social media, Aspergian social anxiety

  1. The moment my parents got the internet at our house when I was 17, I dove right into the world of flame wars and trolling, defending my belief in Yahweh and Jesus against the arguments of atheists in Yahoo clubs. They eventually won me over, making me living proof that logic and reason can deconvert a christian. Sadly, the conversion to Yahoo groups destroyed them. Or maybe it was Google’s murder of Yahoo as king of the internet that did it. Either way, I was without a social hub until Myspace came along.

    I always did ok with social media, though I do get a bit stressed out from time to time when debating with people on Youtube. (Politics is a much more hot button issue than religion, especially for an anarchist like me.) Fortunately, when you’re just talking to strangers, you can walk away from it any time you want. I’ve had some really good interactions with people online.

    I didn’t have any problems with Morphvox Pro, even finding a version of it that I could afford. I guess it’s probably your hardware.

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