Do you consider yourself a nice person? Pleasant to be around? Fun, easy-going, life and soul of the party?
Yeah? What about when you’re online? What about when you’re using Twitter and Facebook? Same old good guy, or do you become somebody else? Someone who’s perhaps just a little bit harder to deal with?
If so, you’re certainly not alone. And you might not even be aware of any change, but according to a new study, almost nine in ten people believe that other folks are less polite on social media than they are face-to-face, and one in five users (19 percent) have decreased in-person contact with somebody altogether because of something that they said online.
But not you, right? You’re golden.
VitalSmarts surveyed 2,698 people and discovered that most of us are (allegedly) a lot less palatable on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook than we are in “real” life, and that two in five users have blocked, unsubscribed or unfriended someone as a result of this bad behaviour.
VitalSmarts’ Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, says that tensions often 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,” he says. “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.”
“Social media platforms aren’t the problem, it’s how people are using them that is causing a degradation of dialogue that has potential to destroy our most meaningful personal relationships,” says Grenny.
Key takeaways from the survey:
- 76 percent have witnessed an argument over social media
- 19 percent have decreased in-person contact with someone because of something they said online
- 81 percent say the difficult or emotionally charged conversations they have held over social media remain unresolved
- 88 percent believe people are less polite on social media than in person
Dashingly poor show all-round. You should be ashamed. Yes, you. I’m in the 12 percent.