Rude people on Twitter and other social networks could seriously affect your work performance. According to management scientists from the University of Southern California, if we witness rudeness it reduces our ability to perform at work. In particular rudeness we observe in other people cuts down our creativity and our problem solving capability.
The study found that when we observe rudeness in the workplace we are less able to perform particular tasks. According to the researchers, this is particularly worrying as more and more people are observing rudeness at work. In some earlier research it was found that 10% of us witness workplace “incivility” every day. Furthermore, people claim that with the advent of online communication, rudeness is increasing. It is so easy to fire off an email, a comment on a blog, or a Tweet on Twitter without thinking very much about whether or not you are being rude.
Even if you are naturally polite and wouldn’t dare send off an angry email without some thought in advance, the problem is you read such emails and see rude blog comments. If you are Twitter user you can all so easily read rather rude replies to people in the stream of material. And that means your workplace performance could be affected. It’s even worse if you write a blog and have to moderate the comments you get. Sometimes, they can be just downright rude and are comments that would not be said in a face-to-face situation.
So, what can you do to alleviate the situation. Firstly have a “zero tolerance” policy. Simply refuce to accept rude comments on your blog. If you allow all comments, including rude ones, other people will see that they can also be rude to you. If you don’t publish rude comments and simply refuse to tolerate them in any way, it sends a signal to your blog readers that you only accept constructive comments – or criticism that is non-rude.
Similarly, in Twitter or on social networks, disconnect yourself from people who are regularly rude. Refusing to accept them will significantly reduce the level of rudeness you witness on Facebook or Twitter, thereby making you more productive as you won’t be disturbed by the rudeness.
Another thing you can do is to make sure you are not rude yourself. Even if you disagree with someone on a social network, being civil will mean you increase the likelihood of a polite reply, rather than rudeness in return. If you are not rude, you will be likely to witness less online rudeness yourself.
Finally, if you employ people, publish a “politeness policy” and encourage people to be nice to each other. You could also have a “comments policy” on your blog to show people that you expect them to comment politely, rather than simply be rude.
Witnessing rudeness, whether it is face-to-face, or online is not a nice thing to have to do. However, doing so also has a negative effect on your own performance. Anything you can do, therefore, to reduce the rudeness you witness, should increase your effectiveness at work.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+