October 14, 2005

Community Tending and Social Skills

Nelle asked how I can say I have an interest in community building and yet not want to talk to people. I have been trying to sort out my answer to the questions. I am not sure I have sorted this out yet but here goes.

First, those of you who don't know me (and some of those who think you do) probably don't know that I have horrid social skills. Around our house it is known as my autism showing. (I performed well into the autistic range on some internet questionnaire about autism.) But, if I am intent on charming someone into or out of something I can do it 95% of the time. Part of the problem with my social skills (and in fact probably the main problem) is that I spend a lot of time watching and listening, noticing what works, what doesn't even when everyone is sure I am in my own world. I am. But it is an odd parallel universe.

This is where it comes into community and my interest in community building. I like to watch how people interract. I can pick out who leads, who smooths the way, who flames, what things work and what things don't. As a member of a community, I do this out of self-preservation. As a leader of a community I do it so I can sort of man the switchboard. Those misc details people miss, they are stored somewhere, probably inefficiently but if I get the right trigger word, I can say, "hey, Nelle was talking about the same thing, maybe she can help" I am damn good at it. I think also as a leader of a community, you are given a bit more leeway with the coming off as brash or whatever it is that I come off as. The lovable, fallible, socially awkward leader...practically an icon.


~ nellenelle said...

I'm *really* glad you thought on and answered this, because it is a worthy topic, and you gave a worthy answer.

I'm not exactly a social butterfly, either. At least not initially, and tend to set back and go with the flow, as you saw... no way I observe as you do, in fact, I may do quite the opposite, my mind wanders off. Anyway, as time goes on, I do intergrate myself into the social flow.

As a child I was very very VERY withdrawn... and fortunately that has changed with age.

Back to your answer.

I don't know the how's, or the why's, of your "horrid social skills." And when I saw you, well, you were basically wheeled out of a hospital bed to attend the weekend activities, so not bloody likely to be able to make many judgement on that limited time, though I do remember...

the eyes.

So you score well on an autism test... guess it doesn't matter unless it bothers you. I do believe those somewhat detached from an experience with interest in the experience can probably pick up things observing others do not, and that brings me back to the eyes... you take in everything, and it has shown all through your writings the last three years.

So basically you can do and have interest in research, but not in the dissemination of what you learn, at least in a classroom setting. Fair enough... I'll not say you should one day return to school... or in things community, as before.

What does your partner think on this topic?

nelle said...

By the way, and believe me, this is being w-h-i-s-p-e-r-e-d, the feminist board regulars have started a blog, at >cough< my urging, in order to have an occasional safe haven from trolls.

Anyway, if you would like to participate, consider yourself invited.


TW said...

It isn't that it bothers me, it is that is what the deal is. I have dangerously bad social skills. Online, I do better. Not perfect by any means but better.

As for the feminist bloggers, be sure to tell them about the Carnival of the Feminists. The first one is coming up

~ nellenelle said...

I've not heard of that, but will look it up...

TW said...

Details can be found here: http://feministcarnival.blogspot.com/