Why do you follow me?

Since being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome I have had a hard time trying to be ‘normal’. I know I need to accept that I will always be different but when you receive a 4 page report on your diagnoses, it’s a bit like someone pointing out that you constantly pick your nose. I don’t know about you but when someone points out that you do something or act in a certain way, you do your best not to to do it because you have suddenly been made aware of these habits and mannerisms. One part of my diagnoses reads…

“He lacked eye-contact and his spoke with a number of unusual inflections. He had a tendency to include too much detail in his explanations and even when answering questions from me”

Ever since the report, I’ve tried my hardest to make eye contact with people, and to summarise my responses, but it just doesn’t come naturally to me. I know this is because of my condition and I can’t change who I am. But most of the time I just don’t want to come across as weird. It makes me wonder how I come across to people online. I don’t need to make eye contact with people on the internet, and on twitter you can only tweet 140 characters so you need to summerise too. Do I appear normal on twitter?
Twitter can be a strange place, lots of people all talking at once. So many opinions, so many voices. I have always been curious as to why people follow me. I don’t really tweet too often, I am not that funny and I don’t really have anything really interesting to say. I am definitely not part of ‘The Twitter Elite’ as some people call them. My profile says “likes random ramblings” and that’s what I do. I tend to tweet about whatever is on my mind at that moment, good or bad. I would say I am more open on twitter than I am on facebook or even in real life. This can be a bit of a curse at times as I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. My therapist said that most people do their best to hide the darker sides of their personalities or the things that make them vulnerable. I don’t tend to do that because then how will people be able to understand me if they don’t have all information needed.
 Yesterday I posted a question:

“Why do you follow me on Twitter?”

100 people answered my question. It was anonymous so people could be honest. Most people who responded mentioned something about my surveys which I can understand. The survey which started off as my own form of therapy for understanding others has become a major part of my life online, which unfortunately has got a bit in the way of my main twitter account, but I doing my best to balance time between my account and @5urvey. I received a lot of positive feedback. People saying things like…

“I find you interesting, creative, and kind. I like your honesty. You seem open and kind of vulnerable. You rarely (if ever) interact with me but that’s ok. You strike me as needing a cuddle and a pep-talk. You seem to be a good person. Sweet, and loving.”

“Initially because I heard you on the Tell ’em Steve-Dave podcast, but I stay because your funny, post great Instagram pictures and have some similar interests too me.”

“Because you appear to be a nice bloke. You are funny. You certainly don’t deserve all the criticism you get from the twatters. Stay resilient my friend.”

It is always nice to read nice things but I also want to see what else people would write. This would be the chance to see what a lot of people really think of me.

“I follow you because I enjoy your interesting tweets from time to time. However this recent self justifiction bollocks is just needy.”

“At first because you were sweet but the egotism has got ridiculously out if control. See ya.”

I think a lot of these points are valid. I guess I do come across as needy at times, especially at the moment when I am trying to come to terms with my condtion. I don’t think I am being egotisic but I am not the person who wrote that so they must have their reasons too. I think hard part of Asperger’s is trying to understand others.

This response was the one I found the most interesting…

“I’ve noticed that you can be sensitive to certain things, I think it seems to upset you a lot when people unfollow so there’s a little bit of unintended pressure to continue following. Sorry, but you did ask.”

I am indeed a senstive person and so sometimes get upset when people unfollow me on twitter, but it really depends on who that person is. I know that one of the problems I have is to make and maintain friendships, and a lot of people on twitter I consider my friends. I am not too bothered by the number of followers I have. I used to get all excited when I gained new followers and sad when I lost them. I don’t know if it’s down to being on twitter for a while so it has lost a bit of it’s sparkle or since I past my personal goal of a thousand followers, or even down to my condition but I don’t get upset if I lose the odd follower. I only get upset if someone I follow unfollows me, esecially if it is someone I have met, know, and consider a friend. On Twitter I tend to follow people who I can relate too, but I mainly follow people who I can talk and have a conversation with. When someone sends me a tweet and I don’t recognise their picture or name, I normally look to see if follow them and have a look at the photos they have posted. They say pictures speak louder than words and I tend to agree with that. If they haven’t posted any photos then I don’t really have clear understanding of who they are. I am not really interested in food (due to my eating disorder) so pictures of food don’t interest me. The same goes with football or other sporting events as they don’t interest me either. If I see that a person has posted a photo of Star Wars stuff, or their favourite music, comics, sci-fi movies etc then tend to take an interest and follow that person. However I don’t tend to look too much in to what they have tweeted about. I assume we will get on just because we both like ‘geeky’ things. This was also picked up when I was diagnosed too…

“he appeared to choose friends based on the things they owned rather than personal qualities.”

This is not a reference to someones material worth, but if they liked the things that I liked. I have a really hard time relating to people who don’t like the things I like. This part of my condition too. If I don’t follow you on twitter it’s probably because you don’t tick some of these boxes not because I don’t think you are a nice person. I am also sorry if I come across as cold or aloof but it is all part of my condition…

“he can appear to lack empathy and that he is not very good at comforting others or understanding their point of view.”

I try and do my best not upset people but I know that it is impossible to keep everyone happy. It is hard for me to understand others and understand myself so I will always be searching for answers. It is in my nature. I always thought it was due to the scientist in me but now I know it is due to my Asperger’s too. I like order and stucture.

So why do you follow me? Well it’s due all of these things. It is because I am…
‘geeky’, ‘random’, ‘interesting’, ‘cute’, ‘brilliant’, ‘genuine’, ‘nice’, ‘kind’, ‘funny’, ‘lovely’ etc. but also because…

“he is the Morgan freeman of surveys”

and I like that.

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Bullies and Buddies

This is probably not the right move and is probably what they wanted, but yesterday I read something that upset me…

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I’m a bit of a sensitive soul, but I’ve been fortunate enough never to really have to deal with bullies. I’ve always had people who would be looking out for me. I remember at school I was friends with a big Scottish boy called Jim. He is probably the world’s strongest man now, but he was one of these kids who didn’t take crap from everyone. I’m sure being friends with him protected me from harm. I still had the odd run in with someone, but that’s school. In fact I was surprised that didn’t get targeted more. As some of you might know I have spastic diplegia which is a form or cerebral palsy. I had to wear an eye patch when younger to try and help correct my eye problem and I was also in a wheelchair for a while because of problems with my legs, so as you can imagine a kid with an eyepatch in a wheelchair is hard to ignore. I always wondered if there was a secret playground code which I was unaware of that scared off the bullies. I remember one of my teachers even had a dressing down from the deputy head in front of half the school because the teacher had told me to stop fidgeting. I guess fidgeting & involuntary muscle spasms are the same thing to some people.

Anyway, I digress. I guess my point being that I’ve always felt protected by someone, there was always someone there to watch my back. As you may know I love making surverys, but before I started @5urvey I knew it wouldn’t be for everyone. In fact the whole reason why the @5urvey account exists is because I didn’t want to annoy any of my followers who weren’t interested in my constant tweets about surveys. The surveys now have their own home, and have proven to be quite popular for some. However the more popular something becomes the more people take notice and this can attract people who like to use this as their way to anonymously express their love or hatred for others who they know will also read it. It will get a reaction and they want a reaction, and I guess this is my reaction.

I’ve seen my name appear a few times on the survey, along with other names that always appear, even if the answers are completely unrelated to the question. Some of the comments are positive some of it negative, but you can’t please everyone. I tried to ignore comment left the other day about someone wishing they were me just so they could shoot themselves. Everyone tells you to ignore it and that is the best thing to do I guess, but the comment above about setting me on fire hit a nerve. I don’t know how others would react but it made me feel uncomfortable. I started to put walls up. I started to question myself. Who is it? What have I done to upset them? Is it someone I know? Should I lock down my account? Should I leave twitter? Is it because of the surveys? Should I stop posting surveys? Etc. On and on… I spent most of the night worrying.

However like I said when I started this post I have always had people looking out for me. My friends & twitter have rallied round me. I received so many nice messages from so many people who worry and care for me. I didn’t really know how much love and support I had before this happened.

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So in conclusion I am not going to change. I am not going to lock my account down. I am not going to leave twitter. I am not going to let this get to me. The surveys will contiune. I am still going to post randomness. I am still going to be me. So to you who wanted a reaction from me, well done you have it…

I don’t know if this is the reaction you wanted.