Asperger’s and the Internet

This Aspie Isn’t Quite Getting Online Social Media Interaction

As a woman diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in adulthood, perhaps I am still finding my way in some respects. I don’t know. However, this aspie is not quite getting social networking. I wonder, is it just me? I’d love to hear from other aspies about what they get or don’t get about social networking and social networking sites. What do you like about social networking and what don’t you like and why? Could it be that the word social, even from behind a computer screen, still packs a punch that leads to similar confusion online as it can so easily, socially, in “real life”? There’s something about being in my own world behind my computer screen that leaves me not so enthused about too much interaction what seems often intrusive interaction. Interaction that the purpose is at times not very clear.

The explosion of social networking sites like Facebook and others – and I’m not talking about dating-type sites – that’s a whole other thing – has brought with it the idea that the internet experience should be interactive. I wonder why. I truly do. I have been told by NT friends and others on the internet as well what is so wonderful about all of this interaction online. I don’t think I get it. I mean I blog, okay, but I have never been one to blog to get comments or to blog and wait for comments. Not that comments aren’t welcome, they are. It’s just that for me blogging is about saying what I have to say – period. It’s about sharing what I have to share. It isn’t that interactive for me. Ironically most of my blogs are not crammed with comments. I don’t know why.

Social networking sites and even twitter – in terms of personal tweets – leaves me scratching my head. I have thoughts about it, I observe it, but I really must be missing something. I got on Facebook the other day for the first time in months. I noticed in the feed that many of my “Facebook Friends” like apps for sure. They are starting zoos and doing something or other in some place called “Yoville” or something like that. Honestly, when I see these messages I’m like, okay, whatever that’s about. I mean I understand what apps are but the devotion of the masses – nope – that I don’t get? Anyone else? I wonder if my not getting it is just an Asperger thing or if it has more to do with the fact that perhaps many others, even NT’s don’t get it?

What do I mean by not “getting it”? Well, technically, that’s not the problem. I can interface with the actual technology. It’s more the logical purpose part that seems to be missing. I mean that I don’t see the reason or purpose to be ‘apping’ as a means of what appears to me on my screen to indicate some combination between some kind of “gaming” and perhaps something that is socially pleasing? I don’t know. Do you?

What really is puzzling to me in some way is the socialization aspect of social media. From an aspie point of view it seems without purpose to a large extent. However, it is likely not thought of as such by NT’s. I have a very busy and active mind. I am not usually lost for words. Even socially in my life, I keep pushing my limits, and I’m doing okay. The things is though, when I go to Facebook or even Twitter, and I see that little box looking back at me that says, “what’s on your mind?” on the screen, my mind goes totally blank. Unless I am posting to my Twitter or Facebook Pages (re coaching, self help, education, writing etc.) I can’t think of a darn thing to say. I mean why would I want to tell a couple of hundred or more people that I just ate a piece of toast or something? Why would they want or need to know that? Why do people want to know such personal details about or from others. That rat-a-tat-tat of social-chit-chat leaves me with an uncommon stilling of my thoughts – thoughts that suddenly do not seem relevant, social enough, or interactively-applicable. Thoughts that flourish in and from another dimension, world, or planet, as I experience them in the context of all that I read that others enjoy sharing with each other.

I understand that to some degree social networking for business or web endeavours has merit. I must admit, even that I do very little of. Am I really missing something? Beyond even that however, I the more I get messages from people, from networking sites and apps and stuff everywhere I turn on my computer online, the more I absolutely don’t get it. So, what am I missing exactly? Is this app-networking like a real-life social situation wherein people join in some activity for the heck of it because it’s what everyone is doing? Because it’s the “in thing” – the thing to do?

Okay, I’ll stop guessing. I wonder how many others with Asperger’s Syndrome find themselves puzzled by all this social network app and seemingly endless communication? Is it a world onto itself? This aspie is resisting it becoming a part of my world as hard as I can. I really am. Intellectually I get it but socially or inter-personally, I have to admit I do not get the value or the reason or the purpose.

I long for the good ole online days where I could just write on my sites or blog or what have you and receive email. That was simple. It’s purpose rarely complicated.

© A.J. Mahari, November 30, 2009 – All rights reserved.