Civility in the Digital Age: Book Giveaway | Beth's Blog

Civility in the Digital Age: Book Giveaway


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.


70 Responses

  1. Our organization could use it to evaluate what level of engagement and what teachable moments that could result in those who don’t play nice with others.

  2. Our organization is in the process of overhauling its social media strategy to be more engaging and personal. As the lead on this project,it’s been a struggle to convince the rest of the staff that it’s good to let some personality shine through our social media profiles–and even to tackle sensitive or controversial topics. As the AIDS organization serving most of Northeast Kansas, we’re definitely controversial–we work with stigmatized populations from an office right in the heart of the Westboro Baptist Church’s home territory. Real-life bullying is something we deal with on a regular basis, and I think it has made some of the staff timid in online outreach. Your book could help me convince the staff to get personal online, and help us develop a strategy for dealing with a sometimes-tough audience.

  3. Our organization represents small-business truckers and our magazine is published with their needs in mind. As more of them come into the digital age and start to wade into the social media water, a book like this would help me to help them when they get into the weeds, which is easy to do when you’re new to social media. As the social media coordinator for our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages, I see some of the struggles they have with communication on a regular basis. Unfortunately, an occupational hazard of managing social media accounts is encountering haters, bullies and just plain crazy people. A book like this could be useful not only to me and my company but also the truck drivers we represent.

  4. Kim says:

    As someone who blogs about economics, I get some hateful comments. This book sounds like a sorely needed guide, so thank you for writing it!

  5. Colleen says:

    As the Chamber Coordinator in a rural community we rely on our website and social media to help us get the word out. I am still in the learning stages of how to bring everything together, and this book would be the perfect manual to get our on line presence launched as well as provide relevant information for our chamber membership.

  6. Karen Tuecke says:

    I am in higher education and would like to share this book with some staff members as it relates to how they treat people. Thank you for this opportunity as I would love a copy.

  7. We believe that small actions can make a big difference. Nothing aligns with that notion more than one’s digital footprint. Our ultimate power lies in our ability to influence; this book sounds perfect for creating a positive,effective, and worthwhile ripple in this digital age. Thank you!

  8. This is something every organization should have on their top agenda in order to build a sustainable and healthy work place. How to get this message out to all the executives, leaders, decision makers (including CEO’s wife)to really see the importance of this message in their company’s manual. Is it possible to build the less toxic or toxic free work place? I would love to learn more from this book to answers many washy wishy questions I have above.

  9. Amma Marfo says:

    As an educator at a college that is working to establish a center for ethical and contemplative leadership, I am interested in the intersection between ethics and civility, and how that plays out in a generation who, for the majority of its existence, has had easy and instant access to information.

    I hope to use this book to help guide students in the responsible creation and maintenance of civil and authentic online identities. I’ve started looking at that through this presentation, “Debummerfication: Encouraging Authenticity Through Attitude Management”, and think this book would be a great way to continue that conversation.

  10. Simon Livingstone says:

    As a media trainer targeting citizen journalists and the civil society, the book will come in handy as an additional resource for training and empowering non-profit online community and boost the quality of content they generate on the Internet and find a voice to advocate pertinent issues based on their objectives.

  11. Thomas Ho says:

    Isn’t TRUTH more important than civility?

  12. Kathy Kim says:

    Our organization’s core values are Positive (energy), Passionate, and Eager. This book would be a great complement as we roll out these new core values. As an Organ and Tissue procurement organization, I am happy to say that the positive comments on our feed outweigh the negative, but a few negative and hateful comments can be the difference between someone registering to be an organ and tissue donor and not registering. Ultimately, that can be the difference between life and death. Would love to use this book as a tool that could save someone’s life!

  13. This book would help one of the nonprofits I work with be able improve the use of social media in the need to protect the children we help.

  14. Shannon says:

    Our organization is on the cusp of creating a news aggregation tool to encourage more nonprofit professionals to engage in online news discussion. We have fantastic news services but the only people engaging in debate are less than civil to say the least. I’d love to read this book to learn strategies for encouraging healthy discussion on issues that matter a great deal. Thanks for putting this on our radar!

  15. I like the emphasis on planning ahead for how to handle potential conflict; that’s an important contingency planning for any organization, in an offline or online context. I’m interested in strategies, in particular, to deal with real hostility in ways that empower and uplift the online constituency. I’m thinking particularly about anti-gay attacks against GLBT rights organizations online, or my own work in the immigrant rights field, and how to set guidelines for dealing with racist hostility while also giving space to online constituents to address the attacks in a way that empowers them. That can be difficult, I think, for nonprofit organizations, given that sometimes individuals have a need to conflict, but organizations may not feel comfortable giving space for that to happen under their ‘tent’. Any insights would be much appreciated!

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  17. John Weeks says:

    Happy to see the emergence of this book. The net often empowers negative speech because speakers feel anonymous and empowered. I’d like to see more writings like this so that netizens can definitively assess not only when someone has ‘gone over the line’ — but what are the best ways to react.

  18. Kat Libby says:

    We could use it to examine current strategies of conflict management and prepare for future conflicts that emerge! Planning ahead and being prepared helps everyone (not just the social media manager) be ready for whatever conflict may emerge, and to respond appropriately.

  19. Beth says:

    Thanks everyone for participating in the book giveaway. The winners were selected randomly and are:

    Terri Lovins
    Sally Berk
    Miriam Brosseau
    Beth Felice
    Keidra Chaney

    The book is available on Amazon – if you wish to purchase copies: