Survey: Americans turning away from 'uncivil' social networking sites

NEW YORK: One-third of Americans are turning away from social networking sites because of uncivil behavior and disrespectful dialogue, according to a survey from Weber Shandwick.

NEW YORK: One- third of Americans are turning away from social networking sites because of uncivil behavior and disrespectful dialogue, according to a survey from Weber Shandwick..

The online survey, conducted in April this year, polled more than 1000 Americans about how civility affected their views of, and participation in, social media and politics, as well as their buying behavior.

The findings revealed that 75% of Americans believe that companies that are uncivil should be boycotted. More than half (56%) of people surveyed have stopped buying products from companies they deemed uncivil and 49% advised friends and family to do likewise.

In addition, the survey also found that 45% have "unfriended" or blocked someone online because of uncivil comments or behavior, and 38% stopped visiting an online site because of its incivility. One-quarter of those questioned said that they had dropped out of a fan club or online community because it had become uncivil.

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber's chief reputation strategist, said, “As a democracy we all believe in free speech and the ability to voice opinion, but as this survey shows, there is a amount of incivility in US life and it is causing people to tune out.There is a rising issue about how companies and networks communicate and a large part of PR and communications is about helping companies engage online and making sure everything is as civil as it can be.”

Gaines-Ross added that while companies cannot control what is being written about them by third parties, steps they take to ensure their own messaging is on track can help negate damaging publicity.

"Companies should listen to critics, and certainly not block them," she said. "They also need to be completely transparent with their communications, avoid corporate speak, and get the story out in as many ways as possible so that their take on issues can be easily found.”

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