Respect in the age of social media

Since my business is training people in etiquette and good communication skills—this topic really strikes a personal chord. Is being rude, disrespectful, outrageously angry really a reflection of our true personality? Have we crossed the line of acceptable behavior in our culture? Pandora’s box is open! Arguing, debating, ranting, raving is the new normal. Our lack of self-control is lowered whenever we log on to social media. Is it because there is no eye contact? No voice? No accountability, anonymity, invisibility?

Are we in the age of a “troll fest”?? I know a person who regularly has negative, personally insulting comments after his posts. He comments, they strike—call him names, lie about situations, and outright accuse him of being a…whatever. I asked “why don’t you block this so-and-so?” He responded – “so others can see my logic, my point of view without anger or hostility.” Conclusion: let it go, it is not worth having negative emotions overshadow you like a spreading cancer.

What do you do if a client (or student) has sent you a “friend” request? Be careful; use good common sense and judgment. Why the request, what’s the motivation? Could they want a better relationship with you? Conduct business through “Messenger”? Be included in your “friends” list? The option is to decline, and yes, you have that right? Or, maybe you should place them in a selected group of recipients.

There are some institutions, as well as businesses, that encourage employees to use Facebook very discriminately and very professionally. I should know—I encourage companies to have a Facebook policy, especially employees in banking, law and government.