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Ben Hollom - Marketing Director, M2 Bespoke

Ben Hollom – Marketing Director, M2 Bespoke

By Ben Hollom

For many Britons spending time on social networks is not only a pastime but also an important part of their life. However, users of social media have become increasingly hostile, according to a new survey from the authors of the New York Times best-seller Crucial Conversations.

The survey revealed that more than three quarters of those polled have seen an argument take place online, whereas two in five have taken more drastic measures such as blocking or “unfriending” someone because of a disagreement they had online. In many cases, whatever happens online does not stay online, as almost one in five admit that they have either severed all ties with an online opponent or have decreased in-person communication with this person as a result of the argument they had.

However, the vast majority of respondents realise that people may act differently when communicating online and face-to-face. In fact, 88% of those interviewed stated that social media users are less polite online than they are in personal dialogue. More than eight in ten people said that difficult conversations they have had online remain unresolved and this could affect their emotions regarding the people they argued with. The poll also found that young people are four times more likely to take part in arguments on social sites.

Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, believes that arguments tend to start online because of the lack of non-verbal communication that usually conveys plenty of information in a face-to-face communication. This causes misunderstandings and misinterpretations and people sometimes fail to predict what effect their words might have on others.