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Surprise: People Are Rude on Social Media

You might get annoyed by overly opinionated status updates, but would you actually cut someone out of your life over an argument on Facebook?
For many, the answer is yes. According to a new survey from corporate training firm VitalSmarts, one in five people have reduced in-person contact with someone after a cyber fight. Moreover, the survey of 2,698 individuals found that two in five have blocked, unsubscribed, or unfriended someone over an argument on social media.
The survey also indicated that social-networking sites are growing increasingly hostile. An overwhelming 88 percent of respondents believe people are less polite online than in person, and 75 percent said they have witnessed an argument on social media. Three out of four have seen the amount of incivility on social media increase over the years.
Worse yet, when tensions spring up on social media sites, they often go unresolved, according to the survey. Eighty-one percent of respondents said the difficult or emotionally charged conversations they had on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were never resolved.
"Social media platforms allow us to connect with others and strengthen relationships in ways that weren't possible before," Joseph Grenny, co-chairman of VitalSmarts, said in a statement. "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. 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."
According to the survey, younger people are four times more likely than Baby Boomers to have emotionally charged conversations over social media.
"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," Grenny said.


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