Tips for Dealing with Conflict in the World of Social Media – An ADR Expert’s Perspective on Finding the Right Approach | JAMS

As an alternative conflict professional whose job it is to manage conflict on a day-to-day basis, I am often asked how I would handle certain situations. Recently I was asked how to avoid engaging in social media battles.

What a timely and timely question! Neuroscience tells us that we may not be the best versions of ourselves when we are in conflict, whether in person or virtually. The part of our brain responsible for rational thinking, the amygdala, is hijacked and our ability to use executive function is suspended. Here are five tips to help you THINK and resist the urge to respond when you see a trigger message.

T – Test yourself. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have all the facts? Should you engage, ignore, send a private message, or take the conversation offline? Make an informed decision. People often share their thoughts on a landmark story before all the information is released, and they end up having to apologize. Make sure you have all the information before posting anything.

H – Have a plan. The main problem with social media arguments is that people can be trapped in a vortex of nastiness without even realizing it. Think about what you want to accomplish by participating in the exchange. Be aware of your triggers and have a strategy for navigating them if they are triggered. How would you feel if your employer had access to your social media accounts? While some companies have publicly expressed support for certain movements, others have remained silent or even spoken out against certain movements. Do your due diligence to make sure you’ve selected a company that shares your values.

I – Intention vs impact. With social media, there can be a big difference between the intent of your post and how it is viewed by others. Take the time to collect your ideas and consider the impact of your message. You may feel different a day or a week later.

N – Never bite the hook. Some people want to say inflammatory things on social media just to entice people. Don’t let them attract you.

K – Know when to fold them. Sometimes people engage in a discussion that becomes personal and escalates into nonsense. You need to know when to disengage.

Even when people immediately delete something they’ve posted, there is still a trace of it, and often the damage has already been done. Use THINK to be more present and thoughtful rather than reactive and regretful.

A variation of this article has already been published on the BreakthroughADR website.

About Madeline Powers

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