Social media ≠ social skills? Think again…

Social media is a lot more like social interaction than I had initially thought.  As well as knowing what I want to get across, I have to remember to read other people’s tweets and blogs, show interest in them and comment on their stuff, very regularly.  I have to do the right things to get people interested in what I have to say, and I have to put myself out there in order to be seen.  If I don’t tell anyone about my blog or don’t try to make what I say interesting for others, I won’t have many people to interact with.  I need to remember not to repeat myself too much!  I have to watch out for replies directed at me, and respond appropriately in a timely fashion.  The more platforms I am on and the more identities I cultivate, the more complicated it can get.

Despite my clear enjoyment of social media, I frequently get ‘social media fatigue’, where I have to stop.  Sometimes this is only for an afternoon or a weekend, when I just don’t turn the computer on.  At other times it is much longer – it can be several months.  I think it’s partly due to the multitude of things I need to remember to do, and much like face-to-face interaction, the translation to and from the neurotypical world can be exhausting.  I’ve noticed that the same sort of bright, enthusiastic and untroubled mind that I need in order to face a day filled with people, is the same one I need to face a virtual world filled with people.

I’ve also noticed that people write articles on how to get started in social media, and how to be better at it.  This is for a mainstream audience, for the ‘average’ person who is new to it or less experienced.  It is not in the realm of additional support or extra needs.  Yet typing out that list of things I need to remember to do for my social media, it could have been a list of my rules about face-to-face social engagement.  Here it is again (I’ve only changed a few words in italics):

As well as knowing what I want to get across, I have to remember to listen to other people, show interest in them and comment on their stuff, very regularly.  I have to do the right things to get people interested in what I have to say, and I have to put myself out there in order to be heard.  If I don’t talk to anyone or don’t try to make what I say interesting for others, I won’t have many people to interact with.  I need to remember not to repeat myself too much!  I have to watch out for replies directed at me, and respond appropriately in a timely fashion.  The more situations I am in and the more identities I cultivate, the more complicated it can get.

When you rely mostly on the word content of communication, irrespective of the method, the two contexts might not be so different.  As far as analogies go, perhaps learning to use a new social medium is a bit like developing social skills, but without the immediate judgement, assumptions and stigmatisation that can go hand in hand with not knowing how to deal with a social situation face to face.

© Catastraspie, 2012.

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Social media ≠ social skills? Think again…

  1. This is one of the reasons I am “on” twitter, but not actually ON twitter – I can’t do it, it’s too much for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s