Springingtiger's Blog

At Crossed Purposes

I wrote this some weeks ago, but held it back for various reasons. Now time has passed to think about it, it’s time to post.

It is, some people say, a characteristic of people with autism spectrum disorders that they assume that everyone knows what they do; indeed there is a diagnostic test that uses this very principle. It is therefore possibly asking for trouble, or at least a degree of confusion, when a person with Aspergers uses several social media accounts.


The first problem is that the contractions one makes to squeeze a meaningful statement into one hundred and forty characters for Twitter may render it confusing to others while to oneself the meaning is obvious. It may not matter as a rule, but when the subject matter is controversial the lack of clarity can be problematical. One hundred and forty characters often means that a message is stripped of much of its context which may be important in the interpretation. Facebook and Google Plus are not limited to the one hundred and forty character limit, however for reasons of pure convenience my posts on Facebook and Google Plus are often edited to fit the twitter limit.


I like to use Hootsuite so that I can post one message to my five accounts (actually six because my main Twitter account posts into my Linked In account too) Facebook, Google Plus and three Twitter accounts (No, I’m not sure why either). This makes life very convenient, but also poses problems which had not occurred to me until the other day. People who follow one of my accounts and engage in conversation on it, I now realise, have no idea what is happening on my other accounts. I on the other hand, may well inform my response on one account with what is happening on another, forgetting that unless people have access to the other conversation, much of the meaning of what I write will be lost on them. I have seen this lead to a degree of justifiable confusion which on reflection might have been avoided had it occurred to me to weigh up the consequences in advance…I don’t do consequences. I know what I’m talking about, it never occurs to me that others don’t because it never occurs to me that they do not share my awareness.


Another less obvious problem is that of responses. Once I have finished a post it tends to leave my consciousness at the same time as it hits cyberspace which is generally the point at which I lose interest in it. It is only when I am actively seeking a response that I tend to follow with any interest what I’ve written and so replies break into my consciousness with a degree of violence, only because my thoughts have moved to other things. If I am to be honest even when I seek a response I often quickly forget I have done so, thus replies can come as a surprise. This happened to me the other day and it was only when I looked back to see to what people were replying that I realised that they might quite reasonably be misinterpreting my post. However as the NLP principle says, ‘The meaning of a communication is the response you get.’ the fault lies in the original posting. It may be time to review my social media strategy. Convenience is inconvenient when it compels me to waste time clearing up confusion.




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