Springingtiger's Blog

Autism Awareness: My Internet

Sitting here in the early hours of the morning Internet was down and I was reflecting on how upsetting that was to me. The Internet has given me a new freedom and facility to communicate with others far beyond what I ever had before, and has given me the opportunity to socialise freely in a way to that I never could. I have always found conversing with other people a burden, I can do it, but I dislike it. I am reasonably content to listen to others as long as they are being interesting, occasionally they are. Communicating online, as I have said before and will probably say many times more, gives me the opportunity to edit my thoughts before bestowing them on others. When I am at my computer I am generally away from other distractions which also makes communicating easier; face to face interactions are too frequently conducted under circumstances where competing stimuli make meaningful exchange difficult.

I tend not to ask for help. At school I would rather sit crying at a question I could not answer than raise my hand in class and ask for help, I rarely ask for directions, hate calling tradesmen, and even where there is a formalised arrangement to request help such as with my Doctor, I prefer not to. When – last year – I posted about the problems I was having, I received a lot of support from people on line. I could never have shared my problems were it not for the Internet, and so would not have received the support I needed. Because of the Internet I don’t have to ask for directions, I have Google Maps, indeed for most of the questions I need to ask there is Google. People may raise concerns over changes to Google’s privacy policy, personally I consider it a small price to pay for what I get from them. (Yay Google!)

I socialise on Twitter, I really enjoy Twitter, 140 characters is enough for most communication and for anything longer I have my blogs. As well as allowing me to share my thoughts with others my blog allows me to understand my own thoughts as I have mentioned before. https://springingtiger.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/blogging-and-the-construction-of-thought/ Were it not that I already have family and friends on Facebook I doubt I would pay it much attention, personally I prefer Google+, possibly because the postings in my circles tend to be more interesting and far less trivial than on Facebook. Social Networking has become a way of life that works for me and that – in combination with attending my place of employment – I find perfectly satisfies my needs for social interaction. I have posted several times on aspects of social networking, indeed I have just found an earlier post on exactly this topic. At the risk of being repetitive here is that earlier post…Asperger’s Social Groups!

When I received my diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome Ann Marie Gallagher made various recommendations one of which amused me, “To give details of Strathclyde Autism Societies social groups”. I laughed, my wife responded with, “Isn’t that Facebook?” On reflection I must admit I have embraced Social media as an acceptable substitute for face to face interaction. Social media give us an opportunity to exchange ideas without the discomfort of normal social interaction and allow us to communicate what matters to us and ignore the bits we find irrelevant.

I love blogging it is the place where I can organise my thoughts and turn them into expressible opinions. I am very clear that my primary purpose in blogging is to inform myself, if other people derive some benefit from my blogs it is a happy side effect. At this point I should perhaps thank those of you who have been kind enough to comment kindly on my blogs, actually I suppose I should thank every one who has commented regardless. As I have admitted recently I use blogging as a tool to recognise my own thought processes as much of the time they are amorphous and only become concrete to me when observed from the third person position. Also the process of blogging frequently stimulates recall – I have a great memory but patchy recall.

I use Twitter to share information I have found useful generally by posting a link or re-tweeting a tweet containing a link so that the original twitterer gets due credit. I use Google Reader to subscribe to several blogs – several of which are autism related – and I then pass on any links I think people will appreciate. I hope people are deriving benefit I am on several people’s lists so I think I must be doing some good. I also use Twitter to comment on life and to ask questions. I really appreciate people who tweet useful links – some perhaps for commercial reasons – people can be very generous with their time and knowledge.

My Facebook page (Rory Patton) I use primarily to interact with people I know. They are described as friends but I must admit there are few with whom I socialise. It is useful to keep up with family and the direct message facility I find very useful. I haven’t worked out how to avoid messages about games which are largely irrelevant to me. Facebook is a great place for passing on information and for campaigning. I particularly appreciate people who share their enthusiasms and have watched many YouTube videos they have posted of obscure singers, Indian dance and Mountain climbing amongst other things. There are privacy issues with Facebook at the moment – my advice is check your settings carefully.


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