Civility in the Digital Age: Book Giveaway | Beth's Blog
Warning: getimagesize(/usr/www/users/kanter/wp-content/uploads/9780789750242_p0_v4_s260x420.jpg) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /usr/www/users/kanter/wp-content/plugins/wonderm00ns-simple-facebook-open-graph-tags/public/class-webdados-fb-open-graph-public.php on line 1044

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. Julie says:

    Temple Kol Ami needs to assess its digital footprint as well as set up a brand monitoring program.

  2. Eva says:

    This looks like a MUST read! Already suggested to my college student son…timely and topical. Thanks for the suggestion Beth!

  3. Mark Frisk says:

    I wish a book like this didn’t need to be written, but it seems as if online vitriol has reached ever-higher heights with the advent of so many social channels. Judging from Beth’s description, this book will help practitioners handle haters and trolls adeptly and effectively. Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Terri Lovins says:

    as a social media consultant who often advises non-profits on social media strategies, I would love a copy of this book! Seems like it would be something to recommend to my clients as well.

  5. Sally says:

    Just coming out of a tremendous conflict in my workplace, which is, in fact, a non-profit. Nobody “won” & nobody “lost” but the residual hard feelings, as well as the fear of something like this happening again, have had a negative impact on morale and productivity. I don’t know if I could convince management to even look at a book like this, but I’d like to read it and maybe do some “guerilla civility training” under the radar.

  6. Jessica Grammer says:

    Ahh!! It’s apparent that digital marketing is effective and can really provide remarkable results for businesses as large as Fortune 500 companies to non-profits like us who are working on a small or… Well no budget al all! Looking forward to the book!

  7. Traci says:

    Awesome resource! In my previous non-profit position, as a response to some interdepartmental vitriol, my region began a “Be Nice” campaign and institutionalized kind and appropriate responses to just about any provocation. I really like this approach. I currently consult with a NUMBER of non-profits and would find Civility in the Digital Age a helpful tool as these agencies continue their movement into the 21st century. Brand monitoring and crisis response would be especially invaluable.

  8. Thrilled to see this book come out. I hope more individuals, groups, and organizations will start thinking more intentionally about how to be human and civil in digital spaces. Hugely important – it’s not only how you can cover your back and prepare for the worst, but also how you can develop a unique voice for yourself and cut through the rest of the “noise.”

  9. Amy Newborn says:

    Interesting book. Thanks for opportunity to win one and letting us know that it is now available. It will be a valuable resource for our entire Social Media Workgroup.

  10. Beth Felice says:

    This is timely work. We need to create safe online spaces where differences are celebrated. There is much work to do with continuing media literacy education into the social media sphere. I’m interested in learning more about Andrea’s work and NPO.

  11. Nita Sexton says:

    My organization needs to develop a more comprehensive crisis communications program to include social media and this would definitely be an asset to building that.

  12. Erika says:

    This book looks fantastic and sounds like a ‘must read’ for any business. In our NP world, we don’t have those big ad dollars, so managing the ‘haters’ and relationships in general is key. My biz has unfortunately had this experience and I’d love to be armed with new tools to overcome!

  13. Elaine says:

    I will buy this book. My parents taught me to be civil and respectful…I expect the same from others. In my work, I have not experienced the cyber bullying or the hatred to the extremes I’ve seen on other’s comment streams, but think we need to be prepared.

  14. Delena Meyer says:

    It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into the nasty trap of cyber-hostility. I look forward to reading this book and sharing it with our leadership team.

  15. Beth, thank you for reviewing my book and letting your readers know about it. I hope people will find it to be a valuable and practical resource!

  16. Jacquie says:

    Our nonprofit works to engage youth in community work and we have some very strong opinions that seem to get shared online on social networking sites, hardly ever in our in-person places. It would be helpful to have some resources to employ to continue to advocate for civil discourse without spending all day sifting through posts with inflammatory language. We would love to incorporate some things into our in person trainings as well!

  17. Janine says:

    Wow — as we dive deeper and deeper into content marketing, our team will no doubt bump up against negativity. We’re going to need to develop strategies to manage it, and it’s great to know we don’t have to start from scratch!

  18. Libby F says:

    What a fabulous resource. We are always looking for ways to refine our social media policy re: responding to and engaging critics online–especially in the age of relative internet anonymity!

  19. I’m a social media strategist for an agency that works with nonprofits. I’m also a blogger and I spend a lot of time interacting online. This book would be great for me.

  20. It’s so hard to set aside planning time for crisis communications (which is the bucket I’d put this in), and yet your failure to do so can leave you unsatisfied with your response and stressed out. You might even have days or weeks derailed by the necessary clean-up and damage control. It would be nice to have a resource (any volunteers?) to assess this for us and create a plan. Lacking a volunteer, this book may be the answer. (Until the game changes yet again.) Thanks for the book contests–love them!

  21. I was just saying something to one of my co-workers about how easy it is for people to be mean online. Sounds like this book is very timely and definitely warranted.

  22. Holli Griffith says:

    This book looks like it will be a good read and a good resource for both at work and at my volunteer group. Thanks for the opportunity to be able to win one of them. Looking forward to reading it and passing it around to other members.

  23. Denise Osso says:

    Doing good is most effective
    When civility is less selective.
    For branders, bloggers, tweeters, spammers
    This book will be the new Miss Manners!

  24. ConnieInfo says:

    In policy work conflict is unavoidable, but it can and must be handled well. It’s necessary to respond to the “fact challenged” in ways that will be eye-opening for at least of some of the audience. Looking forward!

  25. Rebecca Lawrence says:

    This is great advice needed for anyone looking to serve the public online and offline. A strategy to handle negativity needs to be created. Addressing constructive criticism online helps your organization, but not all comments need to be addressed. It may also be important to integrate existing emergency policies into your digital practice. It’s easier to plan than it is to recover. Looking forward to learning more about how to tackle online beasts! I’ve met online bullies before, and it would be helpful to become aware of best practices in addressing them- especially for non profits. Thank you, Beth for sharing this text!

  26. Matt Duncan says:

    Very excited to learn about this book. As a social media manager for a university I see all kinds examples where we are collectively loosing all sense of manners in social media. I think we have lost the ability to complain effectively. Yes, some can do it better than others but from an organizational standpoint it is so frustrating when people take good discussions into a downward spiral because of hostility or simply going for the jugular immediately. The irony is that this becomes noise. The other tricky component is that we are in a transition period of voice between generations. I know there have always been transitions but from my perspective words that would not be spoken when I was growing up are now shared regularly. I honestly believe that the “F” word will be on television (without the beep) before we know it at the rate we are going. The danger is when you take verbatim conversational styles that work for say a group of friends in a room together and put it on public social media channels the style itself is open for judgement by a much larger group – some of whom will roll with it some of whom will switch their focus to the wording rather than the topic being discussed. Add in non-sequitur griping and you have a bunch of additional challenges when managing organizational community / social media to keep the community healthy and differentiate conflict from discussions shared in changing styles of voice. This book looks like a great resource to help.

  27. Stacy Poca says:

    This sounds like a great read. My national organization has negativity problems outside of, and within, the organization. Civility and how to deal with negatively on our social media sites are big topics.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I think our organization is slowly moving forward with social media, and I feel that our efforts are hampered by an extensive approval process in part due to a fear of losing control of the reins and how to handle negative reactions. I feel that this book could help me learn some specific tools and strategies for dealing with negativity, which I could then take to my superiors to hopefully make our processes more efficient.

  29. Stephanie says:

    I absolutely love the subject of this book, and can’t wait to read it! I am consistently struggling with how to better address people who have something negative to say. I’d especially love to learn how to channel customer voices in a positive way to validate that they’ve been heard and that we care about their comments without trying to please them too much. Thanks for sharing this great resource!

  30. We try to focus on the positive aspects of life in our community, finding ways to meet needs and build on opportunities for positive change. Our office culture is based on ways to make good things happen for our region, rather than tearing people down. Does that make it easier or harder to deal with nay-sayers?

  31. Marie Fatima says:

    Great subject matter and needed resource to nonprofit community (all others as well). Thanks for opportunity to win book and for listing of other resources as well.

  32. This is such an important topic–for students, educators, businesses, administrators, everyone. Digital citizenship is more than one piece to our social fabric. Digital civility and netiquette are vital considerations, along with a deep interrogation of our digital ethos. We should all examine our digital ontologies. I’d love a copy of this to preview for my preservice teachers and the members of the two nonprofits on which I work. Thanks, Beth.

  33. This is so timely for us as we recently received hateful feedback after we posted an article about the conviction of a sex offender. Very helpful blog post!

  34. Mitch Owen says:

    Having taught conflict management for years, this book comes at a time individuals and organizations are excited by the prospects of using social media for marketing, education, and leading… but there is the potential for major conflict.. crisis and organizational failure. This book looks very promising and I can’t wait to get a copy and start reading.

  35. Lenore Naxon says:

    The loss of civility is one of the key problems of our culture today. We all see it on a day to day basis. We need to face it and commit to its change.

  36. In my work as a co-owner of a public relations firm specializing in nonprofits, I frequently come across what is tantamount to an almost insurmountable fear of negative social media. This barrier, at times, leads some nonprofits to avoid or to minimize the use of social media — which otherwise could be a powerful tool and incredible asset for them. I look forward to reading this book with the hope that, besides my own exposure to something new, it will help mitigate many nonprofits’ fears.

  37. Jeanette says:

    In my work with birth professionals, there’s a surprising amount of conflict that needs healthy management. I love to read more on the topic – there’s always something new to learn.

  38. Ira Wise says:

    This sounds like an ideal set of practices for B’nai Israel (my congregation) and the congregations with whom I consult on using digital media in education. We are currently doing a “brand review” for the first time in perhaps 155 years and social and digital media are definitely a part of that process.

    Synagogues and other non-profits who want to make it to the next century need to re-examine what their story is and how they will communicate it. This volume sounds like it will be very helpful in figuring out the questions we may not know we need to ask!

  39. Lynn Johnson says:

    Would love to dive into this book. An org I work with tried to reach out to like minded folks in a Google hangout and wound up face to face with some pretty scary characters. We had to just hang up. Need more tips of navigating the scary characters out there to find true “friends.”

  40. Hi Beth. Thanks for letting me know about the book and the giveaway. I could really use this book for the volunteer online projects I’m working on.

  41. This rocks! I can’t wait to read it. Just curious to see if we use similar tactics and determine if she offers any Zen thoughts for dealing with the trolls of the world.

  42. Kat Friedrich says:

    I’m very motivated to promote respectful online and offline discourse because I’ve seen the effects of leaving conversations unmoderated and unmanaged.

  43. Jennifer says:

    Beth, as the head of communications for MPTF — the organization that just a few years ago was dragged through the mud by an extremely vocal online community after an brand-busting public debacle — I can’t think of a better tool to fuel our ongoing digital strategy to win back our community’s favor. We have improved our transparency, trust factor and rapport immensely in the last couple years, but the entertainment industry community we serve tends to like being in the spotlight, sometimes at our expense. We welcome as much expert knowledge on this topic as is available! Thanks for calling this book to my attention!

  44. Natalie says:

    What a wonderful book for these times. The digital age has made it so much easier to spread hate and to do so without having to deal with face to face consequences. Looks like a great book.

  45. M. Hanlin says:

    Fascinating – thanks for blogging/FBing about this.

  46. Michael Hill says:

    The concept is a timely one. As a disability rights organization, the concept of online bullying it a timely one. It’s one of the fronts we’re fighting, and the use of digital media can be a wonderful tool to combat it.

  47. Jason Bruce says:

    I work for a non-profit organization that deals with controversial political and social issues. We get bullied all the time online. Strategies on how to cope and minimize this problem is very helpful.

  48. Marci says:

    My nonprofit hasn’t even tested the waters with any form of social media. One thing holding us back is exactly this. We are paralyzed even thinking about the idea of having to moderate people who don’t agree with us or could potentially cause a problem. This book could give us the jumpstart we need!

  49. This would be super helpful for consulting work. Non-profits often are stretched for time do manage online community yet this work is so critical to keep the community healthy. This will be especially helpful for organizations working with domestic violence that tend to attract controversy and bullying.

  50. JLLopez1006 says:

    We have been lucky enough to not undergo any resistance so far since the website is only a year old, but it is a given that as time goes on and exposure grows, the chances are higher that we may. This book would be helpful as a preventative so that we will know how to deal with that time if/when it does happen. I also have to deal with forum moderation, so you experience problems sometimes in that context as well.

    Thanks for the opportunity! Looking forward to the webinar this week.