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Civility in the Digital Age

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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

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 (R) 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.

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