Social networks, community and autism

I made a planning of future publications, mostly to know when which type is coming out, and I’m already making exceptions. Typical!


I recently made an attempt at coming back on social media, partly with the idea of getting this blog a bit better known and partly because I would like to exchange with people more.
My stay was brief both on Twitter and on Instagram and it will stay like this for a while more. There is still as much noise, which isn’t a surprise, but even trying to downsize my following triggered some anxiety.

I have to manually post on Instagram to share the articles so I will most likely stop by once a week, but I don’t take time yet to look at what’s posted and I still haven’t read my direct messages.

I still managed to land on a publication on Instagram, whilst going through my feed looking at accounts I want to unfollow, which talked about autism, social media and the community that can be found there.

The post, from what I remember, was saying that autistic people use social networks differently than neurotypical people, for example by developing deeper relationship with others, and that they found there a community of similar people.
The post advised against taking too long breaks form them so as not to cut oneself from that community.

I’ve seen that phenomenon of community building and of deep relationships being created between neurotypical people as well but I think I get the point.
Autistic people have a harder time building such relationships face to face, and in a more general way most of us are more interested (drawn to?) deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Once again I started questioning myself and my diagnosis (as usual).
If I can’t find my place in a community, am I really autistic or just extremely asocial?

I’ve met great people, some of which have become my close friends and I am still in contact with them regardless of my long Twitter break (2 years?) and not as long Instagram one (around 6 months) but I’ve never managed to feel like I was part of group, with made me sad when I was on Twitter and played a role in my leave.

The format of discussions on there complicates things for me, as I explain in « Overwhelming social networks » , but it might not be the only cause.
Even when I’m with a group of friends face to face I struggle and stay on the periphery.

I perceive myself as being always “outside of” or “not quite / not really”. I am not really neurotypical yet not really autistic, for example.
I am 38 years old but I don’t see myself as an adult, I don’t have the same life as a majority of them and am quite immature on some aspects, yet I don’t have the life and experiences of younger people either. I have the life of a pensioner yet not the life experiences.

I am not quite one thing and not really its opposite, and in a group I never quite know where I fit in, and therefore how to position myself.
The periphery seems like a good place, especially to observe, but can be frustrating.
I also enjoy communicating but it’s a lot easier for me to do it in a small group – of 3 people – or even with just one person face to face or in writing.

I am starting to think that I am not built to function in a group setting – therefore nor in a community? – which isn’t a problem as long as I don’t try to be different than how I am and I stop comparing myself to others (as less than, of course).

It shows once again that there isn’t one autism, one autistic way of functioning, but autistic people with their own individuality.
We might be a community but we are not a monolith.
Which is just as well.

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