Friday, November 20, 2015

Autism and Social Media

What effect does social media have on those who are autistic? The effects could vary and there's no real way of knowing whether the social media experience will be good or bad for someone who is autistic until one social media platform is tested. Now personally for me, I have some experience using social media platforms. For the record, I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogger to communicate. These are social media platforms that I do find to be helpful as long as one paces himself or herself. I also use YouTube, but only for viewing purposes. I used to chat on YouTube but because of the numerous changes that YouTube (Google) kept making just to make them, I have stopped using YouTube to comment on videos.

Contrary to what critics feel, I don't believe that social media in general is bad. I believe that there's a right way to use social media and a wrong way. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to use social media the wrong way, as in they will either get too full of themselves and go crazy on these platforms by posting multiple messages that don't make much sense. Other times people will just waste time on social media platforms, spending countless hours making 1 line posts just to get their points across.

I believe the key to social media, much like many other things in life, is to be able to pace yourself and balance your priorities. I feel that it's okay for one to have a Facebook account, for example, and post some stuff here and there. I check my Facebook account often enough, but I don't always go up on it to post. I never feel pressured to post every time I get up on Facebook. Sometimes I just feel like reading posts made by other people and I'm fine with that.

Does it make any difference to me that I happen to be autistic and I use social media platforms? I don't see much difference if there's any, to be honest with you. There are only a few rules that I put in place for myself before I get on and interact with these platforms.

  1. Never ever ever log onto social media platforms while you're angry. This is pretty much a surefire way of getting into trouble because while angry you open yourself up to foolishness. Even if what you angrily post is accurate and truthful, it will be viewed as whining and childish. Perception is often skewed on social media platforms, sadly. Don't put yourself in such positions.
  2. When you reply to anyone, make sure to get all your thoughts in as few posts as possible. Don't go on and on and separate your replies into a multitude of 1-line responses. When I reply to someone, I just say as much as I can on a particular subject and try to move on. It helps not to forget what is most important to you in a conversation. 
  3. Ignore the trolls.  I think you know what I mean by this. There will sadly always be a certain few rotten eggs of the bunch on social media platforms that will specifically aim to ruin your social media experience for the day by posting the most outlandish, weird, rude and obnoxious things. To them it may be a funny prank, but to you and me, it shouldn't be tolerated. Why? Because trolling can lead to more dangerous things, such as cyber bullying. 
  4. Keep a time limit for how long you will be on a social media platform. You don't need to be 100% accurate in keeping track of the time, but you need to have a basic idea of how long you are spending on a platform. It's easy as telling yourself "Okay, I will be up on Twitter for around 10-15 minutes and then I will go do something else." If you have something like this in mind, then chances are you will do just fine on the internet for the day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Poem - Where the Wind Blows

Where the Wind Blows

Where the wind blows, I do not know.
Wind is something I can feel and not see.
When the trees move and sway freely, then I will know.
The force behind the wind strikes me in an odd way.

 Wind can often symbolize life. Both are quite unpredictable.
You don't know where both will take you.
The wind can either be harmful of harmless, depending on which side you're on.
Life is a tornado of tests for your spirit.

The wind will pass you by faster than you can think.
The heavier the wind becomes, the more you will sink to the ground.
When the wind blows, its whistling sounds will reach your ears.
The wind blows at any time, throughout all the years.

Wind can often symbolize life. Breathe in life, and you breathe your last.
Life, like the wind, goes by very fast. Be careful.
Wind can either be a warning or a pleasant surprise.
There's nothing to theorize about the wind. It has its purpose.

Sometimes we don't want to go where the wind takes us.
Sometimes we just like to stay where we are.
But we will never get anywhere far if we don't explore.
The wind was meant to carry us elsewhere. That we can't ignore.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stay True To Your Word

There's a problem that many people have in this day and age. They can be highly intellectual and they can be highly influential. They can be inspiring and they can be some of the most creative people you may come across in your life, but what do they have to say about truth? What do they have to say about being honest about their actions? What do they have to say about staying true to their word?

I can freely admit that as a high functioning autistic person that not only do I make mistakes, but I am forgetful, and I tend to overlook a few details. There are times when I feel like I am completely organized when in fact the exact opposite turns out to be true. It happens. That's life. I naturally feel bad when I make such errors in judgement because I want to be on top of things. I want to be organized and I want to make sure that I can stay consistent with what I say and with what I intend to do.

One problem that many people have today is that they struggle to stay true to their word. It doesn't matter how much money you have. It doesn't matter how much power you have in a company, organization or even in a government. It doesn't how great of a standing you have with your peers. Your word is your bond, and if you go back on your word, you will lose your integrity. You will lose your true identity as a person.

So many times recently I have come across people who initially were on my good side, but they fell by the wayside and then resorted to doing things that were anything but authentic. So many times in my life have I encountered people who told me one thing and then did the exact opposite of what they said. Especially now when some people know that I am autistic, they use this information as another way for them to dodge me and try to manipulate me. If they can dance around the bush and not stay true to their word, they will think that they can get by leaving me hanging, stringing me along, if you will.

In summary, I will give my readers, autistic and otherwise, this advice. No matter what the other side does to you, make sure to stay true to your word. Honor what you say and do. Don't back down from a promise that you make. If you have no choice but to change plans, then make sure you do the right thing and let people know beforehand that you need to change your original plans. Don't keep people in the dark and don't mislead them. I have often said this and I still believe this to be a legitimate statement. I would rather be known for telling the truth and being hated than to be known for being a habitual liar and being loved.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Take In the Experience

Ever thought about what might go wrong if you were to experience an event that didn't relate to your normal daily routine? Why would you think about it? Why would you consider all the possible negative things that could happen in your new experiences? Autistic people have a tendency to stick to their normal routines to a fault, and sometimes by doing this they cost themselves the opportunity of taking in new experiences.

Case and point, I recently attended a gaming convention called the Ohio Game Developer Expo, which is based in Columbus, and it was a completely new experience for me to take in. Was there some things that I could have done differently while I was at this event? Of course. Losing track of the time and not knowing where to go to see certain events at the convention was something that happened, but I didn't let such setbacks get me down. I had previously never been to a gaming convention in my entire life, so yes, I didn't know what to expect when I entered a COSI building for the first time in 20 years.

The fact of the matter is that we don't live in "What Ifs", but rather we live in reality. We live in what we know to be true. We know that being autistic will have its setbacks, but we also know that there some things that we can take advantage of. When a a new experience is available for you to take in, don't question it. Especially if that new experience is sure to be a positive one for you, then why would you question it?

We can only do so much living in isolation. We can only do so much making limited contact with other people. Speaking spiritually, I don't believe God intended for us to live under a rock 24/7. I don't believe He would put autistic people into the world just to let them curl up in a ball and not do anything significant. That's not how a life is lived. We may have our worries and concerns, and some of the reasoning behind it may be valid, but that's where faith needs to kick in. You need to have faith and recognize what you have been called to do in your life. That's what I have been trying to do, and attending the gaming convention in Columbus is just another example.

An experience in general becomes either good or bad depending on how you make it out to be. If you are having a fun time, then most likely it was a good experience for you. If you have the "deer in the headlights" look and you get frustrated, then you might look at something as a bad experience. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy considering our autistic conditions. However, sometimes we can also bring out the best of us by going to events such as the one I have highlighted.

In closing, just take in the experience that is offered to you. Especially if it's about something that you really like, such as me being interested in video games, then go for it. What do you have to lose? The better question for me to ask would be... What do you have to gain?