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5 ways to keep your sanity on social media

How to resolve social media conflicts

When you first sign up for social media sites, the experience is exciting and new. You’re connecting with people, from friends to strangers, in new and intriguing ways. And there’s a feeling of being connected to those around you that can give you a real adrenaline rush.

But it only takes one bad experience — from a friend sharing too much information about your life, to a nasty response to one of your Tweets — to send some people running for the hills. Those who end up breaking up with social media display similar symptoms: vanishing status updates, disappearing or “untagged” pictures, and profile removal.

However, there are plenty of ways to resolve conflicts on Facebook®, Twitter® or other social media sites without withdrawing completely from social media society. MBA program faculty members Debbie Marchok and Jan Martin suggest these five tips to help you stay out of conflicts — or at least resolve them when they do happen:

1. Deadbolt your social network.

Brands and celebrities are always targets for hackers, but every user has a reason to be careful. “Unauthorized users could post inappropriate content in plain view of your co-workers and family, and create malicious links in an effort to steal information from those in your network,” Marchok says.

If you should be a victim of a hacked account, Marchok suggests acknowledging the breach, apologizing and changing your privacy settings as soon as possible to protect yourself and those in your network. She adds that regularly changing your password can be the best, most proactive way to keep your account secure.

2. Develop a thick skin.

Social networks are an excellent way to spread news — even when it's untrue. Martin began campaigning for a seat on the Colorado Springs City Council in 2011 and noticed several negative posts and rumors about her from supporters of rival candidates. Looking back at the experience, Martin says, “Even though it's easy for negative comments to hurt your feelings, remember to stay on topic and be professional. Always take the high road.”

3. Stay positive.

Because casual written communication like you find on social media sites can be easily misconstrued, it’s important to give people the benefit of the doubt when you’re reading their posts, since you can’t use vocal cues or body language to determine their intended tone.

“Posting and responding to fellow social media users in a positive way is one of the surefire ways of lessening the impact of negative social media experiences,” says Marchok, a marketing executive.

4. Remove “later” from your vocabulary.

Another key to getting the best experience from the social network of your choice is to be responsive. When replying to your followers, Marchok advises, "If the recipients don’t receive information timely, they may misinterpret your lack of response. Social media contact is 24/7 — 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Communicate with people as such."

5. When in doubt, take it offline.

When a conflict situation arises on a social media site, the best way to resolve it is, surprisingly, off of social media.

“If you do take a negative position,” Marchok explains, “it's best to send a private message or communicate in a one-on-one setting.”

What other tactics have you used to avoid getting burned on social media? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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