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

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

by Andrea Weckerle


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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789750242
Publisher: Que
Publication date: 02/27/2013
Series: Que Biz-Tech Series
Pages: 303
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Andrea Weckerle, an attorney, founded and leads CiviliNation, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing online hostility and character assassination. She previously worked at the Legal Management Services division of a global professional services firm, helping to design, develop, and implement comprehensive alternative dispute resolution systems for Fortune® 500 firms. She also underwent extensive mediation training, earning certificates in Commercial Mediation and Conflict Resolution Processes. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal,, NY Daily News, and Advertising Age. In addition to a JD, she holds an MA in Public Relations/Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

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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Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies and Other Jerks 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
PicassoIndy More than 1 year ago
Andrea's book is a must read for anyone that is on the front lines of digital engagement through social channels and community management. Her insight and examples opened up my eyes to the dangers and threats that are very real for companies and people who are participating in any online conversation. I will be working on our 30-day action plan (included in the book) to better prepare myself and other employees to resolve and prevent conflict online.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago