Published on 12, July, 2020
I like facebook - I spend a lot of time on it. My profile is almost exclusively 'NT compliant but still eccentric old me'
Does anyone think that a 'dual identity' is healthy?
I feel like I want to 'live my truth' and just be completely open, but I think some/many existing friends would be confused and quite unnerved.
Above all I just want to share some things I know - to entertain, educate, resonate (or be happily disagreed with) - and feel that some of my things are VERY not NT.
This topic is something I've been pondering for a long time, and since discovering I'm on the spectrum, it makes a lot more sense why I was confused about it.
Since learning I'm on the spectrum…
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Since learning I'm on the spectrum, I have been actively reducing my online presence, which basically involved stopping using accounts that suggested I was being my 'whole self' on there, rather than focusing on an interest only. I was using those accounts as you described - NT compliant. I realised that for a decade or two I've been specialising in creating an online persona for myself, which would change slightly to fit each purpose. I was very good and even worked in online marketing, advising people in their online strategies. Also, specialised in the analytics behind the strategies - so keeping tabs on algorithms (mostly Google, though, rather than social). It's nice to think now that I had turned my autistic traits and learned skills into something useful!
But the same problems kept affecting me - I kept asking myself if people liked that persona or if they liked me. Did they like only the positive stories I shared, or would they like me including my darker days, my troubles.
It also seemed like people much preferred the distance that passively liking/commenting on a post gives, rather than direct interaction. I've heard others suggest this - so I don't think this is due to my autistic traits (at least not on their own), it's certainly an issue with social media.
What bugged me was that I could share something profound to me - something deep, personal, perhaps something joyful or troubling - and people might read it on their phone while trying to distract themselves from their own lives, so they weren't really engaging in the posts, they're using Facebook to escape their own lives. They could be sat on the loo!! Or waiting for a bus. Social media seems to be about self-serving, not genuinely connecting with others. I find this forum different - I'm not obliged to keep up a profile page or interact with others' profiles, instead we're connecting over specific topics.
I'm done with the days of keeping up one of those generic social media profiles. Yet I am still enjoying using social media as outlets for specific interests - I think that's where most of the positive experiences lie for me. That basically excludes Facebook. Since deactivating that I have felt some subtle stress lift off my shoulders - it's liberating not to worry about another "me" out in the world that I need to check is masking enough, normal enough, not too weird, not ignoring people, not posting too much, to little... etc. etc. I trust genuine friends will stay in touch through direct means and that's now a better gauge for me when it comes to sincere friendships. I miss the acquaintances on Facebook, but somehow, I doubt they've noticed I've vanished! Many know or could find another way to contact me if they cared, but haven't. It has been hard to realise how small my genuine friendship circle is, but it confirmed what I felt underneath.
I love the graphic you shared - I definitely don't always know who or what I am. I change and don't want to be tied to an artificial profile, either. Even choosing my username and profile photo on here was difficult enough. I'm more than those, and also not those at all. Yet I understand names and identities are useful!
Wow that was a long post from me! Wasn't planning on that!
More and more of the people I know have woken up to the toxic nature of social media. So many are leaving. Although, these companies make it more and more difficult for you to leave because they have got their digital hooks into every aspect of your life. As Plastic mentioned above, it is basically an amplifier for people to brag and boast about the redacted version of their lives they want you to see, and very few are actually giving a realistic depiction of their actual lives. You only get to see the edited highlights.
And this whole business of like/dislike is sinister.