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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.