Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autism and Social Media: Survival Tips

There's no doubt that the internet is today's urban jungle, filled with beauty and danger. It's especially dangerous if you have trouble with social cues and understanding context. Words on a screen are often devoid of emotion and cause us to draw our own conclusions on the intentions of the writer. Misunderstandings come fast and hard, boiling into flame wars with a single word. These lessons are learned the hard way, but with some tips, hopefully you can recognize the lesson before it has to be repeated.

We may as well admit it, we who have autism have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously. We internalize and take offense way to easily. (Disclaimer: Yes, I know it's not this way for absolutely everyone and maybe not YOU). See what I just had to do there? I guarantee you I will be attacked for this paragraph, but I will not answer those attacks. Nor will I post hostile comments. That's part of surviving the internet. So, the tips:

Reader beware: Few posts carry trigger warnings, so when you read something, you need to form a thick skin or practice knowing when to stay away. It's hard to be personally aware of what really upsets you, but it can be done. If you find yourself getting upset with something someone else posts, practice walking away. You don't have to respond. You don't have to read what everyone else says. You don't have to agree with what everyone else says. And it's okay not to.

Don't feed the trolls: It gets said over and over again doesn't it? That's because it's true. Trolls are very good at triggering people on the internet and very little is beneath them to do so. They know full well what they are saying is wrong. So why correct them? Pass up their comments as "not worth your time" and find something more meaningful to comment on. If they are on a forum that allows them to be reported, do so, but don't say a word to them. NOT ONE WORD. Let moderators deal with it, you don't need to. If you just can't stand seeing their name and there stuff triggers you, use the block option. Block them and you'll find yourself a lot more stress free. Trying to fight trolls too much will result in dealing with a stalker or cyber bully instead. Not worth it!

Don't believe everything you read: Propaganda is always either half true or an outright lie. There is always more to the information than what you see. Ads are for taking your money, there is no guarantee you will get what you are promised. Especially don't trust propaganda "meme" posters. Some posts are meant to get you upset to incite you into doing what they want you to do. Always stop and think before exploding into action. That's a tough practice, but necessary.

Practice research: Never take action on anything on the internet without doing your research. Ask questions, do google searches, find out what the real information is.

Don't click on that: Get a weird message with a link in it on Facebook? Don't click on it. It's a virus that will spam everyone on your friends list. Same goes for your email messages. Unless a link has an explanation on it of what it is, you shouldn't click on it.

Would you do this in person? Ask yourself that before you post on the internet. There's always the old saying: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If only more people would follow that.

Don't post your personal information: Even if it 's only viewed by people on your friends list. That includes your address and telephone number. Such things should only be sent in private message if at all. This is because;

Not everyone on your friend list IS a friend: You've never met them in real life and becoming true friends take time. It requires trust that you should not give out easily. No one should be requesting your information without a good reason, and marketing or sales are not good reasons. Most are good people and great to have contact with, but you don't want to just give yourself out to everyone who asks. Internet friends are awesome, but guard yourself.

Have tips of your own? Submit them to comments (moderated). Good luck out there!

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