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Social Media a Source of Rising Incivility, Says Survey

Social media has become a source of growing incivility and even ruined relationships, says a recently released survey conducted by a corporate training firm.

According to a survey by VitalSmarts, 19 percent of respondents have decreased their offline contact with someone because of something that person said on social media; 35 percent reported blocking, unsubscribing or "un-friending" someone because of an argument held on a social networking website.

Conducted by VitalSmarts, the survey sampled 2,698 individuals during the month of February with online questionnaires. The estimated margin of error is 2 percent. The findings were announced on Wednesday.

Joseph Grenny, co-chairman of corporate training firm VitalSmarts and co-author of the New York Times best-seller Crucial Conversations, told The Christian Post that the results were not surprising.

"We weren't necessarily surprised by the findings because we've been observing these trends in our own social media feeds," said Grenny. "We conducted the study to get an accurate read on how emotionally charged conversations held via social media affect relationships."

Grenny also told CP that he felt the main means to curb this trend would be "for manners to catch up with technology."

"That won't happen until we start expressing social disapproval instantaneously when people behave inappropriately. First, we need to start talking about the issue, which is in part why we did this study," said Grenny.

"Second, people need to begin self-appointing themselves as monitors or line judges, to call foul when they witness bad behavior online. If this starts to occur consistently, manners will catch up with technology, and we'll find that social media is actually a wonderful glue rather than divisive tool."

Other findings of the survey included 76 percent of respondents saying they witnessed an argument on social media, 78 percent reporting rising incivility on social media, and 88 percent stating that they believe people are less polite on social media than offline in person.

Furthermore, 81 percent of respondents who had emotionally charged conversations on social media say that the issue at the center of the hostile conversation remains unresolved.

The news comes as another study, performed by Piper Jaffray, notes an apparent decline in interest in social media by the rising generation.

As reported by Jordan Crook of, Jaffray's survey of some 5,200 teens found that while Facebook remained the "most important" social networking site, it and many others had dropped in popularity over the past half a year.

"Over the past year, the number of teens who deem Facebook as the most important social media site has dropped from more than 30 percent to just over 20 percent," wrote Crook.

"But it's not just Facebook. Almost all social media sites have either seen a decline or stagnation in their importance to the teen demographic."

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