My colleague, Andrea Weckerle, has published a new book called: “Civility in the Digital Age: How Companies and People Can Triumph over Haters, Trolls, Bullies, and Other Jerks” and she gave me five copies to giveaway to five people or nonprofits who comment below. Andrea is the founder of CiviliNation, non-profit organization taking a stand against online hostility and adult cyberbullying. Its focus is on advancing the full capability of individuals to communicate and engage in cyberspace in a responsible and accountable way. Andrea is a lawyer and expert in communications. Here’s a brief book review.
There is a large number of people online and it comes as no surprise that there are online classes, misunderstandings, reputations damaged, and public relations disasters. People and organizations that work on social change are not immune. If you are on the front lines of online work for your nonprofit, along the way you are bound to encounter “trolls” who may disagree with what your organization does and try to engage in you a battle using insults and even worse as weapons or worse Here’s a blog post from Carie Lewis of the Humane Society of the United States about her experience with haters and how she handles it. Andrea’s book is filled with practical information on how deal with the situation.
She offers the foundation concepts in conflict management, resolution and why your online reputation and privacy matter and legal issues, but what I really like are the many practical tips and techniques that she offers in conflict resolution, anger management, and a 30-day plan for putting all the advice into practice in your online work. Here’s a few of the practices that I thought are especially useful for nonprofits:
- Start with a conflict inventory and assessment: Andrea offers a great list of questions to help you take a careful review of your organization’s conflict culture and history to help you analyze potential risks and areas for improvement. There is also a set of questions to help you identify the challenges that could be an issue for your organization and harm your organization’s reputation and have financial implications..
- Assess Your Current Digital Footprint: The inventory not only includes web sites and presences that you’ve set up, but that others have. You create a list and then assess it for accuracy.
- Set up A Brand Monitoring Program: Listening or brand monitoring is a social media best practice – and the tips include standard recommendations such as selecting a tool, tracking dashboard, and regular review process. She offers some specific items for tracking conflicts and trolls.
- Adding Conflict Resolution Points To Your Social Media Policy: This includes creating a flow chart for dealing with an online conflict situation. The points include: 1) notice the situation; 2) evaluate the situation; 3) Respond to the situation.
- Offer Training in Conflict Management To Social Media Professionals: The book describes techniques for conflict management and how to respond in various situations, but organizing a training for staff that includes role play and simulations to practice these skills is also important. There is also a recommendation for simulating an online crisis from start to finish and then have a debrief about how it could have gone better.
- Develop your Organization’s “Dark Side” information kit: This information, typically on your web site, contains information that would be relevant in the event of the crisis.
The book is a great resource for nonprofits and social media managers who are dealing with sensitive topics on a daily basis – and want to avoid wasting valuable time and resources, feeling helpless, or a full-scale crisis. The books is filled with techniques and best practices for getting people to be more civil online and how to handle the people that just can’t be civilized.
If you’d a chance at winning a free copy of this very useful book, Civility in the Digital Age, leave a comment about how your nonprofit would put it to use.