Survey finds people are less polite on social media than in person

By on April 11, 2013, 11:38 AM

Here’s a statement that’s likely to surprise nobody: people are less polite online than they are in person. The revelation comes as part of a recent survey from VitalSmarts which found that 88 percent of respondents agreed with the aforementioned statement while 75 percent say they have seen “good manners” go down the toilet on social media in recent years.

These poor manners often lead to arguments or fights which go unresolved. More than four out of five people said such conversations were never resolved which ultimately led to one in five people having reduced in-person contact with a friend or family member. Some 40 percent of people have blocked, unsubscribed or even unfriended someone over an online dispute. Unsurprisingly, younger people are four times more likely than older adults to have an emotionally-charged conversation on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn.

VitalSmarts co-chairman Joseph Grenny said social media platforms allow people to connect with others and strengthen relationships in a way that wasn’t possible before. But at the same time, these platforms are also the default forums for holding high-stakes conversations where people blast each other with polarizing opinions. Those engaged in heated conversations typically have little regard for anyone else that might be reading.

The co-chairman went on to say that social media platforms aren’t the problem; it’s how people are using them that is causing issues and helping to destroy peoples’ most meaningful personal relationships.




User Comments: 23

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Guest said:

Noooooooooo, really??

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wonder if they had to take a survey, to come to this conclusion.

Lurker101 said:

Yet another brilliant piece of investigative journalism brought to you by VitalSmarts, a subsidiary of The Ministry Of Bleedin' Obvious.

coppersloane coppersloane said:

And the comments above me just prove the subject of this article. Well done, boys.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And the comments above me just prove the subject of this article. Well done, boys.
Not just above yours, yours is included!

4 people like this | Lurker101 said:

And the comments above me just prove the subject of this article. Well done, boys.

I take exception to that comment. I think you'll find that I, and perhaps a great many other Techspot posters, are just as sarcastic and caustic in real life as we are on the internet. The only real difference between the two being that online, we can check and edit our comments to make them more succinct.

Guest said:

"Not just above yours, yours is included!"

And yours, smart guy......

SammyJames said:

I can't do it. I am about to become extremely sarcastic, acerbic, and downright nasty. So, I'll edit myself in advance -- by not posting what comes to mind...

Lurker101 said:

I can't do it. I am about to become extremely sarcastic, acerbic, and downright nasty. So, I'll edit myself in advance -- by not posting what comes to mind...

Just give in to the temptation to express your true opinion and bathe in the catharsis of it all. It will make you a much better person.

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

Let me be the first to say: @#$% all of you!

That is all.

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

The sad part is there is no true emotional context when dealing with social media. There is no facial expressions to add meaning to the words on the screen. There is no "talking with your hands" or body positioning or micro expressions. Its all just words on a screen. As such ppl feel that they can get away with saying whatever they want.

We go online with an assumed identity so we can protect ourselves from identity theft but also to sheild ourselves from any emotional backlash. If someone is giving you crap online, you chage your screen name and move on.

I guess when your sitting in the comfort of where ever it is you hop online, we feel safe and secure. We can be "naughty" or "rude" or "horny" or what ever we wish online. That very freedom from identity allows us to reinvent ourselves. We create a new persona that may or may not be close or similar to who we think we are. We sit in saftey knowing that no matter what we say or do online we are "protected" by our aninimity. Now put two ppl face to face and a different social interaction takes place. Someone can SEE us being rude. Someone can HEAR what we are saying. Someone can go tattle on us and "get us in trouble". There is the major difference. Online, you can complain but you never get any where. In real life, you ARE held accountable for everything you do.

1 person liked this | Camikazi said:

And the comments above me just prove the subject of this article. Well done, boys.

I speak online the same way I do in real life, I have upset some people in both but I see no reason to bite my tongue when someone does something stupid.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"Not just above yours, yours is included!"

And yours, smart guy......

You didn't read the comments or you would have already known I was included.

Guest said:

No surprise, because we don't face other people directly when using social media thus make us more brave when communicating (via social media)

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Hey, smart one, got your skull shrinking the brain?

IAMTHESTIG said:

This used to be called TTGS... telephone tough guy syndrome. Now its ITGS. Anyone who converses without others physically near-by are not in immediate danger, so they feel safe to say exactly how the feel.

Guest said:

"You didn't read the comments or you would have already known I was included."

I was being annoying on purpose :-)

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"You didn't read the comments or you would have already known I was included."

I was being annoying on purpose

Which makes you the primary cause for this topic.

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I'll take all of you on. I'm an internet tough guy. Don't approach me in person. I'll run >_>

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm only less polite to the people who don't know where I live.

hitech0101 said:

All those guys think they are out of reach and can say anything they want. False sense of power that they can never have in the real world.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

The sad part is there is no true emotional context when dealing with social media. There is no facial expressions to add meaning to the words on the screen. There is no "talking with your hands" or body positioning or micro expressions. Its all just words on a screen. As such ppl feel that they can get away with saying whatever they want.

We go online with an assumed identity so we can protect ourselves from identity theft but also to sheild ourselves from any emotional backlash. If someone is giving you crap online, you chage your screen name and move on.

I guess when your sitting in the comfort of where ever it is you hop online, we feel safe and secure. We can be "naughty" or "rude" or "horny" or what ever we wish online. That very freedom from identity allows us to reinvent ourselves. We create a new persona that may or may not be close or similar to who we think we are. We sit in saftey knowing that no matter what we say or do online we are "protected" by our aninimity. Now put two ppl face to face and a different social interaction takes place. Someone can SEE us being rude. Someone can HEAR what we are saying. Someone can go tattle on us and "get us in trouble". There is the major difference. Online, you can complain but you never get any where. In real life, you ARE held accountable for everything you do.

This is partly why Google is trying to force users to post on youtube as themselves... to reduce a tiny bit of that anonymity and make at least a few take responsibility for the things they say.

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Haha, I'm sort of the opposite. If I spoke to people on this forum like I speak to my friends, I would have been banned a long time ago :P

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