Antisocial Networks? Hostility on Social Media Rising for Most Users

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It's fine to disagree, but don't point out your disagreement until you acknowledge areas where you agree. Often, arguers agree on 80 percent of the topic but create a false sense of conflict when they spend all their time arguing over the other 20 percent.

Social networks are becoming increasingly hostile, with 78 percent of users reporting rising incivility online and two in five blocking, unsubscribing or "unfriending" someone over an argument on social media, according to new research from the authors of the New York Times best-seller Crucial Conversations.

The online survey of 2,698 respondents suggests contentious conversations that begin online tend to spill over into real life. The study also indicates that people are generally less polite and tensions often go unresolved on social media. Specific findings include:

  • 76 percent have witnessed an argument over social media
  • 19 percent have decreased in-person contact with someone because of something they said online
  • 88 percent believe people are less polite on social media than in person
  • 81 percent say the difficult or emotionally charged conversations they have held over social media remain unresolved

Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, says these tensions arise and go unresolved in part because online conversations provide a unique set of challenges that are seldom taken into consideration when people begin typing their frustrations.

"Social media platforms allow us to connect with others and strengthen relationships in ways that weren't possible before. Sadly, they have also become the default forums for holding high-stakes conversations, blasting polarizing opinions and making statements with little regard for those within screen shot," says Grenny. "We struggle to speak candidly and respectfully in person, let alone through a forum that allows no immediate feedback or the opportunity to see how our words will affect others."

Grenny offers tips for communicating both candidly and respectfully on social media.

Additional resources are available through our IT Downloads:

Social Media Opportunity Assessment Tool

Social Media Content Guidelines

Social Media Business Plan Template

Social Media Policy and Procedures Template


Related Topics : SharePoint, Web Video and Voice Conferencing, UK, MySpace, Intranets

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