Earlier this year, Weber Shandwick conducted the third annual poll on Civility in America, which found 63 percent of Americans say incivility is a major problem for the country today. With these results in mind, and with civility a major topic surrounding recent and upcoming debates, we took a closer look at civility in our city as part of our third-annual “State of Seattle” survey.
While 71 percent of Seattleites believe that the general tone and level of civility is a problem, we are less likely to think of it as a major problem (just 21 percent of respondents said it was). But that may change: almost a third of Seattle-area residents said they expect civility where they live to get worse during the next few years. And, the percentage of residents who describe Seattle as a “friendly” city this year compared to last year dropped from 48 percent to 36 percent.
Whether you blame it on the “Seattle Freeze” or empowerment from the anonymity of social media, it seems Seattleites may not be as nice as we’d like to think. In particular, two-thirds of local residents report having experienced incivility on the road— that’s more than the national average. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why traffic was a chief complaint among Seattleites.
For some reason, courtesy and respect for other drivers seems to go out the window when we get behind the wheel of our cars. The same can be said for online incivility, which is becoming a growing concern for both individuals and brands. But whether you’re posting a comment on a blog or merging on the freeway, it’s essential that we engage with each other in ways that encourage positive and constructive communication. For companies, this can mean developing media strategies that engage customers with their brand and creating welcoming online communities that don’t tolerate incivility. For drivers, maybe it means being more apt to give a wave than honk your horn.
Check out our infographic on the results of the civility portion of or survey below and be sure to return to the Weber Shandwick blog as we continue to dive into the State of Seattle findings.