Being Impolite in Social Media Affects Personal Relationships

May 16, 2013

【Unlocking Word Meanings】

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. face-to-face
[FEYS-tuh-FEYS]  (adj.) – very close or in direct contact with another person
Example: Webcams allow face-to-face interaction.

2cut ties (with) [kuht tahys] (idiom) – to end a relationship with a person or a group because of a negative reason
Example: He cut ties with his friend after a serious fight.

3. dispute [dih-SPYOOT] (n.) – an argument or a fight with another person
Example: Political discussions on the Internet often lead to dispute.

4. unfriend [uhn-FREND] (v.) – to remove someone from the list of contacts in social networking sites
Example: My sister unfriended her ex-boyfriend in Facebook.

5. netiquette [NET-i-kit, ket] (n.) – the rules on the proper behavior when communicating online
ExampleNetiquette helps maintain good relationships in social networking sites.


Read the text below.

Online interactions are affecting personal relationships as people become more disrespectful online, according to survey by corporate training firm VitalSmarts.

The survey found that 78% percent of 2,698 users of social networking sites are now becoming more impolite. These people say they do not feel uneasy about being rude when they are interacting with people online.

Sadly, online fights often affect real-life relationships, as the study revealed. Two out of five users stopped personal contact with someone they had an online argument with, while one in every five respondent had less face-to-face communication.

In addition, some people even cut ties with their own family members because of online disputes. Virtual arguments also cause tension in the workplace when employees talk ill of their co-workers in internet forums.

VitalSmarts co-chairman Joseph Grenny said that 19% of the social media users block, unsubscribe, or unfriend a person after virtual disagreements. To Grenny, this data show that proper manners and netiquette do not seem to have developed as quickly as technology.

To avoid destroying personal relationships, Grenny suggested that over-emotional and personal conversations should be done face-to-face and not through the Internet. Also, he added that people should not use judgmental words during online interactions.

【Viewpoint Discussion】

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that online arguments can really affect the actual and personal relationship between two persons?
·         How else can online arguments be prevented?

Discussion B

·         What netiquettes should people remember when using the Internet? Please explain your answer.
·         Why do you think that some people become rude in online sites?


May 16, 2013