Facebook Survey Reveals Anti-Social Network In The Making
April 11, 2013

Facebook Survey Reveals Anti-Social Network In The Making

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

It´s a social network existing solely on servers and delivered to us via desktop or a mobile device. Yet we´re interacting with real people through Facebook, and this can complicate things.

A survey from a corporate training firm has recently found that arguments and fights which begin online can spill into real-life, meaning Facebook has a larger affect on real life than we may like to acknowledge. Making matters worse, the survey has also found that people are becoming increasingly rude on Facebook, leading to more fights and more potentially broken friendships.

According to the study, conducted by VitalSmarts, 78 percent of polled Facebook users said the site was becoming “increasingly hostile,” leading two out of every five to block or “unfriend” someone they´ve gotten into an argument with online. Of these respondents who had a fight with someone online, one in every five said they stopped contacting that person in real life.

The survey polled 2,698 Facebook users and found that overall, more personal wars are being waged on Facebook walls and never resolved in real life.

“Social media platforms allow us to connect with others and strengthen relationships in ways that weren´t possible before,” explains Joseph Grenny, co-chairman of VitalSmarts and co-author of the book Crucial Conversations. “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.”

In other words, says Grenny, we´re more likely to get candid on Facebook but remain polite in real life.

It´s not just the two people fighting who are involved in these arguments, either. The public nature of Facebook makes the 'Airing of Grievances' a very real thing. Those simply passing by are just as likely to see the harmful words as the person those words are aimed towards.

According to the study, 76 percent of Facebook users have been witness to the kinds of fights that break up friendships. Another 88 percent of those surveyed said they believe all these fights are making Facebook an increasingly hostile environment, turning people into savages online when they´re normally quite kind in real life.

Sadly, another 81 percent of those polled said the arguments they engaged in online are still unresolved.

According to Grenny, the issue isn´t necessarily Facebook; the issue is the people who comprise Facebook. Younger people have been found to be four times more likely to get into arguments online than their Baby Boomer counterparts. This, says Grenny, is proof that the younger generation could learn a thing or two about communicating effectively.

The study suggests the following hints:

-- “Check your motives.” By asking what kind of reaction you´d like to receive, you could avoid getting into hurtful online debates.

-- “Replace hot words.” By choosing better language, you could avoid getting into these kinds of online arguments.

-- “Agree before you disagree.” Being willing to meet another person half way is an easy way to steer clear of Facebook controversy and keep your friendships intact.

Of course, for those who have simply had enough of Facebook and the people who populate it, there´s an anonymous blogging option which sets itself apart by encouraging users to say the things on their site that they couldn´t say on Facebook.

Pencourage is a completely anonymous website with the freedom to post some of your most angry and salacious sentiments.

While it´s probably best to communicate directly with a friend who angers you online, venting about them on Pencourage could be a good Plan B.