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Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks

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Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks


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  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 6" x 9"
  • Pages: 320
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5024-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5024-2

Re-civilize Life Online!

PROVEN Conflict Management and Prevention for Social Media and the Web

Ever seem like the Web is just one big screaming match? Ever feel like you’re refereeing a worldwide tantrum on YOUR social media sites, blogs, and online forums? That’s not good for your goals—or your sanity. Stop. Now. Step back. Take a breath. And solve the problem. Thought you couldn’t? You can: there are proven best practices for getting people to be civil online. Even when they disagree. Even if they’re complaining. You can avoid misunderstandings that lead to flame wars, and promote constructive conversation amongst those with strongly held views. And, finally, you can handle the people that just can’t be civilized. Today, these skills are flat-out imperative. Everyone who leads, curates, manages, or participates in online communities needs them. Andrea Weckerle hasn’t just compiled them: she’s created a 30-Day Action Plan for restoring civility to your corner of the digital world. This plan works—and not one moment too soon.

  • Master the foundational skills you need to resolve and prevent conflict online
  • Understand the dynamics of each online conflict, from procedural disputes to online lynch mobs
  • Stay cool and effectively manage conflict in even the highest-pressure online environments
  • Differentiate between what people say and what they really want
  • Create a positive online footprint—or start cleaning up a negative image
  • Recognize online troublemakers and strategize ways to handle them
  • Manage your own anger—and, when necessary, express it online safely and productively
  • Strategically manage others’ online hostility and frustration
  • Limit risks to your organization’s online reputation due to actions it can’t control
  • Draft and implement corporate social media policies that actually work

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Civility in the Digital Age: Who Are the Troublemakers?

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 4 and Index)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia    xi

1  Who Gives a Darn About Conflict?    1

If It Happened to Them, It Can Happen to You    1

How This Book Will Help You    3

It All Began on August 6, 1991    3

Every Single Day People and Businesses Take a Hit on the Internet    4

The Negative Effects of Unresolved Conflict    6

Unique Aspects of Online Communications    6

Anonymity and Pseudonymity    7

The Legal System’s Weaknesses    8

When It’s Online, It’s Permanent    8

Three Scenarios Revisited    8

What Is Conflict and How Can Conflict Management and Resolution Help?    10

Foundational Concepts in Conflict Management and Resolution    11

Positions    11

Needs    11

Values    12

Different Types of Conflict Management and Resolution    13

Negotiation    14

Facilitation    14

Mediation    15

Arbitration    15

Civil Litigation    16

Three Foundational Skills Necessary in Conflict Management and Resolution    17

What This Book Covers    19

Endnotes    20

2  Why Your Online Reputation and Privacy Matter    25

More and More, Everything You Do Is Public and Subject to Public Scrutiny    25

Sharing and Oversharing    26

Your Digital Footprint Matters, Whether You Want It to or Not    28

How Online Information About You Affects Your Reputation and Life    29

Online Information About You Affects Your Education, Too    30

Online Information About You Impacts Your Career Success    31

Online Information Affects More Than You Think    32

Reputational Hits from the Outside    33

Reputational Hits from the Inside    33

Measuring Your Existing Digital Footprint    35

Consumer Review and Complaint Sites    36

Local and Hyperlocal Sites    37

Sentiment Analysis    38

Creating a Strong Online Reputation    40

The Importance of Trust and Goodwill    42

If You Make a Mistake, Own It    46

Monitoring Your Online Reputation    47

Using Monitoring Tools    48

Endnotes    50

3  The Different Types of Conflicts You’ll Encounter Online    57

Whether You’re a Global Giant or a Private Individual, You Can’t

Escape Online Conflict    57

How Many Different Types of Online Conflicts Are There?    59

One-on-One Conflict    59

One-on-One Conflict Between Individuals with a Prior Relationship    60

One-on-One Conflict Between Individuals Who Are Known to Each Other    61

One-on-One Conflict Between Individuals with Only a Superficial Prior Relationship    63

Conflicts Between Several People or Groups    63

Conflicts Between Several People or Groups Who Share a Common Identity    64

Conflicts Between Several People or Groups Who Don’t Share a Common Identity    64

Conflicts Between an Individual and Several Community Members    65

Conflicts Between Community Members and Site Representatives    65

Conflict with People Who Are Pseudonymous or Anonymous    66

Online Lynch Mobs    67

Private Versus Public Disputes    69

Conflict Issue Categories    70

Content-Based Conflicts    70

Personality-Based Conflicts    72

Power-Based Conflicts    73

Identity-Based Conflicts    75

Why These Online Conflicts Matter    76

Endnotes    77

4  Who Are the Troublemakers?    85

A Pathetic Loser and Coward    85

Troublemakers Come in All Sorts of Shapes and Sizes    86

Anatomy of a Troll    86

How to Deal with Trolls    90

Dealing with Sockpuppets    90

How to Identify a Sockpuppet    93

Dealing with Difficult People    94

Dealing with Online Defamers    100

Cyberbullies, Cyberharassers, and Cyberstalkers    102

What to Do If You Are Being Harassed or Stalked    103

Online and Offline Can Overlap    104

Endnotes    104

5  What’s Your Conflict Style?    111

It’s Other People Who Are Making Me Crazy, So Why Are We Talking About Me?    111

There Is No Single Right or Wrong Conflict Style    112

Adult Personal Conflict Styles    113

Competing: The Warrior    114

Coercing: The Bulldozer    115

Circumventing: The Dodger    117

Compliant: The Pacifier    117

Compromising: The Negotiator    119

Covert: The Operative    120

Collaborative: The Resolver    121

Online Conflict Style Quiz: Which One Are You?    122

Scoring Key    126

Endnotes    126

6  The 101 of Anger Management    129

Anger Is a Primal Emotion    129

An Important Note About This Chapter    131

What Happens to You When You Become Angry?    132

Are There Differences in Who Becomes Angry and How They Express It?    132

Why People Become Angry    135

Don’t Confuse Anger with Other, Similar Emotions    139

Negative Anger Affects People at Work and at Home    141

The Downside of Expressing Anger Online    144

Venting and Self-Control    146

Anger Management Techniques    148

Endnotes    153

7  Digital Literacy in a Hyperconnected World    163

Brett Cohen the Celebrity    163

The News Media Takes Accuracy Seriously    And Still Sometimes Gets It Wrong    164

Digital Literacy and Why It’s Important    166

Truthiness Is the Word    166

Critical Thinking Is a Core Component of Digital Literacy    168

Check Your Biases and Beliefs    169

Examining Credibility and Quality    173

Don’t be Seduced By Gossip and Rumors    179

Accuracy and Verifiability of Information    182

Is a Desire for the Truth Strong Enough to Overcome Bias and Faulty Thinking?    184

Endnotes    185

8  Into the Trenches: Conflict Resolution Skills and Strategies    195

Could This Dispute Have Been Managed Better

and Possibly Even Avoided?    195

Your Conflict Goals and Corresponding Approaches    197

Your Organization’s Culture and Conflict Practices    199

Determining If, When, and How to Respond    201

A Word About the Role of Compassion    204

Dispute Management Process    206

Gather information    206

Identify the Disputants    208

Define the Problem from Your Perspective    210

Determine What the Other Side Says the Problem Is About    211

When the Parties Have Different Views About What the Dispute Is About    212

What Does the Other Side Say It Wants?    213

Who Are the Decision Makers?    214

Agreeing on Process and Ground Rules    215

Know Your BATNA and WATNA    216

Creating Possible Solutions    218

Agree on and Implement the Solution    218

Review Your Progress    219

Interpersonal Skills for Successful Dispute Management    220

Focus on the Problem and Not the Person    220

Don’t Make Personal Attacks or Ad Hominem Fallacies    220

Form of Expression Matters    221

Active Listening    223

Responses When Someone Bashes You Online    224

Examples of Effective Online Problem Solving    227

A Special Note About Consumer Review Sites    231

Single Versus Repeat Occurrence Disputes    232

Can You Manage the Dispute on Your Own or Do You Need Outside Help?    233

Crisis Management Approach    235

Endnotes    237

9  Legal Aspects of Online Disputes and Conflicts    241

Is Questionable Behavior Illegal? It Depends

on the Facts and Circumstances    241

The Imperfect Nature of Legal Rights and Responsibilities Online    245

Freedom of Speech    246

Defamation    249

Privacy    251

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act    253

Drafting Robust and Legal Social Media Policies    254

Endnotes    257

10  30-Day Plan for Better Conflict Management Online    267

Putting Knowledge into Action    267

Day 1: Start Your Conflict Inventory and Assessment    268

Day 2: Identify Your Greatest Online Conflict Concerns    271

Day 3: Measure Your Existing Digital Footprint    272

Day 4: Start Identifying Your Online Conflict Management Goals    273

Day 5: Identify Your Internal Champions    274

Day 6: Get Buy-in from Leadership    275

Day 7: Get Human Resources’s Buy-In    275

Day 8: Identify the Stakeholders and Key Personnel You’ll Need    275

Day 9: Identify the Financial Resources You Need    276

Day 10: Claim Your Online Identity    277

Day 11: Choose an Online Monitoring Tool    278

Day 12: Set Up an Online Conflict Tracking System    278

Day 13: Set Up Your Social Media Sites    279

Day 14: Create Your Company’s Social Media Policy or Review Your Existing One    279

Day 15: Hire Someone to Manage Your Social Media Properties    280

Day 16: Hire an Attorney    280

Day 17: Determine Whether You Need to Bury or Remove

Negative Information    280

Day 18: Start Developing Your Company’s Online Conflict

Management Training    282

Day 19: Establish Criteria for Measuring Success of Conflict

Management Training Program    284

Day 20: Create a Social Media Conflict Response Flow Chart    284

Day 21: Start Offering In-Depth Conflict Management Training to Your Social Media Professionals, Public Relations Professionals, and Online Community Managers    285

Day 22: Start Drafting Your Crisis Management Plan    286

Day 23: Identify Your Online Crisis Management Team    287

Day 24: Decide Who Your Public Face Will Be in an Online Crisis    288

Day 25: Train Your Public Relations Team and Social Media Team in Crisis Management Skills    288

Day 26: Develop Your Company Website’s “Dark Site”    288

Day 27: Start Developing Your Anger Management Training Course    289

Day 28: Start Developing Your Digital Literacy Training Course    289

Day 29: Simulate an Online Conflict Crisis    290

Day 30: Conduct the Online Crisis Simulation’s

Post Mortem    290

Endnotes    290

Index    291


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