By Craig Dunn, founder at HeadsUp.social.
For social media to be enjoyable, useful and productive, we need to be civil and respectful of each other - especially when we disagree.
Online civility brings nuance, new and expanded information, shared understanding. Good conversation is a fun, enriching, sharing and learning experience.
Ad-hominem attacks such as insults and ridicule are just destructive and anti-social, indicators of missing empathy and intellectual ineptitude.
Don't do it! - My mother used to say:
"If you've got nothing helpful to contribute, just keep your trap shut!"
I must have said the wrong thing a time or two - here's what I've learned and how it applies to interactions on social media:
- Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to a person’s face.
- Carefully monitor the tone of your contributions to the conversation.
- Avoid being offended – instead be empathic and realize that any offense may not have been intended.
- Stay on topic. Sometimes, it's fine when a conversation goes off topic, but do try to circle back and help the discussion fulfill its promise.
- Be empathetic in your ability to listen to others even if you do not agree. Be open to persuasion to understand another’s point of view.
- When in doubt on how to respond to someone’s post – wait 24 hours to respond or don't respond at all.
- When nothing works - do nothing!