It’s not at all uncommon to hear about political tensions having risen to recent highs over the past several years. As we’ve discussed, there’s plenty of evidence in the social media age to back it up. The best example being that most social media users say they’ve lost at least one real world friend due to political angst on social media. But, it’s not just about politics. It’s extending well beyond our social media “friends”. According to an annual nationwide study from KRC Research 93% of Americans believe we have a problem with lack civility today. Plus, 69% believe a lack of civility is a major problem in our society.
Those are both records. In terms of how it’s manifesting itself in every-day life. According to the findings the average person had 6 “hostile” encounters per week entering 2016. This could be anything from experiencing road-rage, to nasty encounters at stores, at work and you guessed it, social media. While nearly one per day sounds like a lot, that was over two years ago. It’s much worse today. The average person is now experiencing about 11 hostile encounters per week. Yikes! That's a lot negativity to battle through on virtually daily basis.
Now here’s the good news, yes there is some. Work is increasingly becoming less hostile according to the findings. Only 10% of the hostility in our lives is derived from work. That’s an improvement of 4% over two years ago. Workplace hostility looks to have continued to get better as the economy improves. The peak year for workplace hostility was 2011 with 43% of our issues being derived at work.
More over, if you want to avoid hostility here are the conversations not to have at work. Politics are 38% of all hostile encounters, Racial topics 30% and Religion 28%.
Not surprisingly what’s been on the decline at work is the increase on social media which is driving the increases overall. We’ve talked about how bullying of our kids is worse today than ever before because of the 24/7 element of social media. Truth is, it’s fueling the bullying and hostilities of adults as well. The single most common place someone has a hostile encounter in the US is Facebook.
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