• Darcy Reed

Social media tribes

In my mind, there is a difference between mercy and the usual way we view each other, especially on Facebook. It is an unreasonable platform for understanding each other unless we happen to be able to express ourselves clearly. For those of us with nonverbal autism, however, it is our only really social world that we can experience without the chaos of real visitors.


The trend I see now is not so much individual friendships as individual groups to belong to. For me that is pretty cool. There are thousands, probably; I belong to many of them. I don’t really use this to make lots of friends but I have found some really wonderful ones around the world, and then we can video chat. It is wonderful for me. I actually love that.


I’m aware there are many Facebook rules to follow. My mom does it for me because Facebook is a lot of work and I hate computers so I just type on a letter board and such. The problem I’ve noticed people having, however, is so typical of society in that it tends toward self-segregation. Among those of us who need to be open to all people, this is especially excruciating. The divisiveness on the social media front is disturbing and there is so much going on to censor or drive away folks from platforms, that it is like a vicious town square full of misfits who can’t take their eyes off their phones anymore.


How amazing it must be for those people who actually have real relationships and can talk with their voices instead of one typing finger. I imagine everyone who can do this takes it for granted. I don’t but I’m so glad I have facilitated communication for these last three decades to help me at least talk in the blogs. I do get a lot of nice comments and I love it. That’s when I feel like I’m part of the human tribe.


We all need a human tribe – it is our nature. But these days no one gets along enough to have anything but a virtual tribe. I like to join various Facebook groups where I expect to be understood to some degree. It’s hard enough being my weird self without Facebook shaming and ostracism which has happened to me in the neurodivergent movement because I’m nonverbal and need a facilitator.


It’s a perfect reflection of the way tribal exclusionary practices work. It creates divisions within divisions within divisions. I don’t fit in categories well anymore so I try not to just write or think about autism. It is only a fraction of my truth, so why discuss it all the time? Like I’ve said before, it can be a world without mercy but it is a tribal connect. I’m wondering if it’s possible to teach kindness through blogging on Facebook? That’s my concern. If the social media becomes our only tribal reality then it might be necessary to make rules about its exclusionary and hateful groups that wound others. I don’t know how to suggest it be done, but just thought I’d point out the need.




Image by Gerd Altmann

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