There’s a concept of oversharing that us autistics are apparently renowned for; we have a reputation for not just talking about something, but going to the nth degree, regardless of whether or not the listener is interested. What is interesting though is how so many NTs* do just that on Facebook. They share their entire lives on there, things that would have previously been written in a diary that would have been then concealed away, the very idea of anyone coming across it and reading its contents being absolutely abhorrent, but yet here we are, so many, sharing so much, in such a public arena, for all their contacts to read, if they care to and, if they’re not aware of the privacy settings, to all the world, for Google to then trawl through as part its data mining operations aimed at making the sum of humanity’s knowledge accessible at the click of a mouse.
I’ve noticed there are several types of people who use FB. There are the minimalists, some of whom may not even have a profile picture, but it’s just there so that they can see their nephew who’s gone to university’s photos. They have very little on their timelines other than maybe posts they’ve been tagged in by said nephew, all the way through to those whose live stories are unveiled for all to see; I admit I fall in to that category.
FB, I do admit, is my primary form of ‘socialising’. It’s an extension of the world that is accessible through a screen from the comfort of your own home, and for me that is perfect. No noisy crowds that stop you from being able to hear what someone next to you is saying. No risk of covid infections. No screaming toddlers. Perfect. There’s also control over who you talk to, and the pace of the conversations and interactions (most of the time). However, I know that I can be also ‘peopled out’ through Facebook, just as much as if I’ve been with them physically. It can be exhausting. Life dramas also seem that much more… dramatic…. on FB too. Superlatives seem to flow more readily, and there are those who, when behind a keyboard, say things that they’d never ever would say to you or anyone in person, except under the most severe of circumstances. It’s like their thoughts are appearing in digital text form, almost like those bubbles that they have over characters in a comic strip. Filters are, it seems, an optional extra, and even if it’s deleted, it’s so easy for someone else to take a screen shot, and it’s saved for posterity for all to view; how often have we seen tweets by ‘celebrities’ and politicians who’ve then recanted, only for a myriad of others to have already shared that screenshot and it then ends up on a newspaper’s front page?
And they say that it’s us autistics who have problems with oversharing… I do enjoy people watching, and it is far, far more entertaining on FB 😉
*NTs = Neurotypical people