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:
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.
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