For me, social media isn’t a way to kill time. It’s not a way to drown my sorrows. It’s not a way to compare my life to others’ lives.
To me, social media is about connection.
On Facebook, I connect with people I know. I connect with people with whom I have something in common with (high school, a specific interest, a specific lifestyle aspect). Those connections net other, new connections and I meet more people who are interesting to me.
On Twitter, Instagram, and Mastodon, these more public social media options allow for an even broader reach. I can find people—complete strangers—who are sharing or talking about things that interest me or I can relate to. People I don’t even know boost the signal of other people unknown to me, and I discover new artists, writers, famous people, and those who are unable to leave their homes on the other side of the world. I forge connections and learn about different ways of being. I can follow people who are outside my own personal experience to broaden my perspective and understanding.
I am very good at nurturing connection with people. Sometimes it has even brought me new paying work. But mostly I do it because that’s what I am driven to do. That’s what I am good at. I’m not the one who is great at creating community in the first place, but I’m pretty darn good at helping to keep it going. I’m able to drop more of my autistic masks being social online (compared to in person), which causes me to be more authentic and open, which tends to put people at ease and draw them out too. I’m honest when I tell people that I like something they’re doing, or when something they said was meaningful to me.
With the recent Twitter hubbub, I haven’t left the bird site, but I have branched out to Mastodon. I’ve found even more interesting people there, since many of my points of reference are new. I’m following some of my same Twitter folks, but I’ve also found countless new people to follow.
This is how I have friends and acquaintances all over the world. This is why I always seem to “know a guy” (or gal or person).
I’m so grateful to have such connection to people.