Civility is severely lacking on the Internet these days. We see it often on social media posts covering a variety of topics ranging from politics to preferred audio boards.
People can’t just offer their perspective with facts to back it up. Rather, they feel an inherent need to tear the other person down with personal insults that often extend to their families.
Unfortunately, people really have forgotten what manners are and why they’re important. They also don’t seem to realize that you don’t influence others to consider your perspective by insulting them.
In fact, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” explains in great detail why this approach fails – and why civility does not.
The Importance of Civility in the Metaverse
This polarizing behavior hasn’t been good for society (and it goes beyond politics).
So imagine if it becomes as normal in the metaverse as it currently is on social media. After all, the metaverse has the potential to make digital connections more personalized. Thankfully, *most* of the people we’ve encountered in our current iteration of the metaverse haven’t been that way.
But as it continues to gain mainstream appeal, that could shift. This is detrimental since the metaverse is more interactive, personal, and connected. There are also people whose real-life conditions and circumstances limit them from being able to enjoy many experiences in a real-world setting.
They are the most vulnerable to attacks from the trolls that the Internet has become so infamous for. That’s troubling, since tearing someone down when they’re already vulnerable does great harm and benefits no one.
Think about it: when you respond with hatred and insults to someone’s opinion online, how does it benefit you? It certainly doesn’t help improve your reputation. There is literally no real benefit.
That’s why we’d like to make a strong case for civility in the metaverse. Everyone stands to gain from polite, respectful, civil conversations – even when they don’t agree.
And no one stands to gain from a barrage of insults and innuendos. They only serve to tear one person down and make the other look like a douche.
Appealing to YOUR Need for Self-Preservation
Everyone always wants to know “what’s in it for them” regardless of what they claim. So, I’m going to focus on a few principles here that show how your goals can be supported by expressing civility in the metaverse.
If you genuinely care about other people and want to help them, that’s great; these principles will apply. But even if you’re a sociopath or psychopath, you’re also going to see why expressing civility towards others still helps you achieve your goals.
Civility: The Secret to Influence
Carnegie reminds us that rude, threatening behavior is ineffective for several reasons.
First, it alienates people from your point of view. Initially, this sounds obvious: if someone feels insulted by the way you express your point of view, they’re going to feel hostile towards you and your opinion.
But this isn’t just true for the person it’s directed to. That social media comment will likely be seen by dozens of users (sometimes thousands). Those people are forming impressions as well.
So consider this: a given thread on any social platform you choose features two people arguing about a topic (we see it very often). One person is going on a tirade, hurling insults while tearing down their opponent’s family and perceived life story. The other is calmly presenting their views while backing it up with evidence. Which person sounds more convincing to other readers?
Empathy: Also a Powerful Tool of Persuasion
People are most receptive to your message when you empathize with them. According to Marketing Weekly, “the principle of empathy…is increasingly relevant to marketing careers. Creating an environment where people will be prepared to change their opinion, or be willing to hear what you are saying, is a key part of influencing.”
If you want to influence others, consider where they’re coming from and how you can connect with them in that context. Create the environment in which they are most likely to feel safe, open, and understood.
And don’t expect insults or rude behavior to be conducive to that environment. This will be especially true in the metaverse, which is expected to further personalize digital connections.
Shared Growth and Opportunities
But there’s even more to it than what we’ve discussed so far. Social media presents an extraordinary opportunity to connect with other communities that we may have never encountered otherwise.
It can help facilitate the sharing of ideas that, when considered together, can help us all grow as a society. But instead, it’s separating society even more.
The metaverse will also help people connect, collaborate, and share ideas with a global audience in real time with greater ease. The opportunities really are limitless.
Just consider scientists collaborating around the world in a virtual environment that mimics real-world physics. They can conduct experiments and studies without safety, financial, and regulatory constraints. Now apply that principle across all facets of society and industry.
A lack of civility has the ability to crush these opportunities on a massive scale. As we’ve seen, it also presents the opportunity to increase division among ourselves even more.
Be Civil, Please
As we’ve seen, there’s a great opportunity to advance ourselves and those around us if we just remember the manners that our parents taught us (or, at least, should’ve taught us). Remember, you don’t have to hate someone just because they have a different opinion. So many of us have been conditioned to do that, and it’s to our detriment.
So as the metaverse continues to gain appeal and draw more users, I would urge you to strongly consider civility – even if those around you aren’t being civil. Ultimately, it will prove more beneficial to you and those around you.
Also, add “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to your summer reading list. It really will change your life.