Social Media Users Grow More Hostile
Of social media users surveyed, 19 percent said they have decreased in-person contact with someone because of something they said online.
For all their efforts to bring people from across the globe closer together, an online survey from the authors of “Crucial Conversations,” a book exploring influential speech habits, found social media sites are fostering an increasingly hostile user base.
Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) of the 2,698 respondents reporting rising incivility online, and two in five admitted blocking, unsubscribing or “unfriending” someone because of an argument on social media. More than three-quarters (76 percent) said they have witnessed an argument on a social media site.
While high profile, and high-pressured, celebrity exchanges on Twitter have long been fodder for entertainment media outlets, the results suggest uncivil behavior is affecting the vast majority of social media users. The study also indicates that people are generally less polite and tensions often go unresolved when cultivated on social media sites.
Of those surveyed, 19 percent said they have decreased in-person contact with someone because of something they said online, and a whopping 88 percent said they believe people are less polite on social media than in person. Perhaps, then, it is unsurprising that 81 percent say the difficult or emotionally charged conversations they have held over social media remain unresolved.
“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,” Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, said in a statement. “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.”