Two large panel surveys examined Americans’ perceptions of both the prevelance of uncivil behaviors on different platforms and key platform features.
Specifically, every social media platform that a participant reported using regularly was examined, meaning that perceptions that are due to the platform could be disentangled from perceptions due to the user.
First, perceptions were not stable – idiosyncratic user experiences made more of a difference than any “objective” differences between platforms.
Second, network association – which measures two key building blocks of community – was positively associated with perceptions of incivilility. This might suprise you. Platforms characterized by network association look more like offline communities: Your connections to other people are visible; your connections can easily meet and interact with one another. Your might expect that under these conditions, people would be on their best bahvior. Not so. In fact, people anticipate more uncivil behaviors on these platforms.
An additional major contribution of this work is that it offers an intuitive definition of incivility: Uncivil acts (are perceived to) expresss a commitment to conflict. Civil acts imply that sitting down to talk is still a worthwhile conflict management strategy.
Cite (APA style) as:
Sude. D. J., & Dvir Gvirsman, S. (2022). Different platforms, different uses: Testing the effect of platforms and individual differences on perception of incivility and self-reported uncivil behavior. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcmc/zmac035