The introduction of social media has made worldwide communication easier, quicker and more advanced than it has ever been before, but while marketers and advertisers all over are taking advantage of this to build stronger customer relations; is it having a negative effect on our ability to communicate appropriately and effectively?
I came across figures this week that suggest as many as 3 out of every 4 of us have witnessed an argument via social media and as many as 88% of us strongly believe that we are all less polite when using these platforms when compared to face to face communication. It seems that by eliminating the behavioural cues that are involved in a real world, face-to-face conversation social etiquette of all kinds is decreased and we begin to act in a way that we wouldn’t normally find acceptable.
Increased Effrontery –
Over the last 20 years communication technology has evolved to increase the speed and practicality of how we keep in contact with each other, but that in turn has ironically taken us further and further away from a standardised human to human conversation. To the point that it is now possible to sit behind your computer screen and ‘talk’ to anyone from anywhere in the world and, more to the point, say what you like without fear of a physical reaction.
Not only have we seen the ugly head of a new form of bullying rear itself but it has also affected the way we communicate with the people that we would normally get along perfectly well with in the real world. Two out of every five of us have apparently blocked or unfriended someone from a social media site and one out of five people have extended this further by reducing in-person contact as a result of an online feud.
A Need For Privately Aired Laundry –
So what is it about social media that makes people want to air their dirty laundry in the public eye? We’ve already touched on the fact that some people, with a certain amount of cowardice, feel they can say things from behind a faceless piece of technology without consequence, but what is it that makes them want to do this via a platform which allows other relative strangers to also view this interaction?
I believe that it is in part to do with the fact that most of the younger generation feel so comfortable with social media that it has almost become second nature and they rarely spare a thought as to who else will be viewing their social exploits. For them it has always been this way and they often even forget that it’s not just them and the person they are communicating with who are privy to the conversation.
There is no doubt social media has improved our resources for communication and there are a large number of people who are truly reaping the benefits that it can bring. However, it seems that there is a whole generation who have totally forsaken the need to communicate with civility and have taken it upon themselves to develop their own social media etiquette. If these are the so called marketers, advertisers and potential role models of the future then surely there is a need to take certain conversations into face-to-face situations, establish a more humanitarian approach to social media activity and air their increasingly more dirty laundry in private for a change.
What’s your view on this unsavoury side of social media? Have you yourself had an argument over social media or ended up breaking contact with a friend or relative over their social actions? Leave your comments in the space below.
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Chris Mayhew is a writer, blogger and social media practitioner working for Marketing By Web. This internet marketing agency is accomplished in PPC, social media management and SEO in Bristol.