Late this week here at ProBlogger guest blogger Justin Dupre explored the topic of swearing on blogs in his post – Dropping The F-Bomb: Blogging with Naughty Words. The response to his post was a great discussion with a variety of opinions expressed.
I thought a followup poll might be in order with the question being:
To give you a taste for the opinions of others on the topic of swearing on a blog here are a few comments from the ProBlogger community on the topic taken from the comments on Justin’s post.
Rhys – “What about cultural differences? Point I’m referencing is when a certain a-list blogger began a post with a C-Word. Rightfully, a LOT of bloggers were offended, but being British where that word is not horrendously shocking, I wasn’t. However, when a blogger used a swear (rhymes with banker), I was offended as it’s quite a powerful word for Brits! I’ve seen it used on things like the Simpsons and WWE Wrestling, but nobody seems to bat an eyelid. But like your said, it’s about knowing your audience.”
Mike Gray – “I refuse to allow any kind of salty language from myself or from commenters. To me, if there are readers that are sensitive to that kind of thing, there’s just no good reason for me to alienate them. Not to mention, I’d like my blog to be a place where parents would feel secure in letting their kids visit.”
Dan Cole – “I think you also have to consider your future. What happens if your future employer looks at your website and see you writing fire truck all over the place. Is it something you really want to live with the rest of your life?”
mgroves – “It’s my experience in general that what cursing can certainly add emphasis if used properly, that it’s instead overused to the point of being a crutch or substitute for creativity. This is also the case for music, books, movies, etc, not just blogging. Use it sparingly, so that when you *do* use it, it will be much more significant.”
aaron – “I would say to use the best form of communication you can find. sometimes a good Fbomb is the only way to explain something. don’t just drop a bomb for the sake of dropping a bomb…articulate.”
Mike Panic – “There is a small staff of people who write for my blog and they have all asked where I stand on cursing in their writing. My statement is something like, I have no problem with it if the cussin’ fits the article, but if it’s cussin’ for the sake of cussin’ it is pointless. I read a how-to-blog article 2+ years ago, maybe on Lifehacker, it said something to the effect of – hold nothing back, apologize for nothing, write true and you will be happy and someone will read it, somewhere.”
There are over 100 comments on the thread – a great read in all.
My own opinion on swearing on blogs:
A few random and personal thoughts:
- This may surprise some but to me it’s not the biggest turn off to read a blog that uses some swearing. I’m not offended by too many words although there are one or two that push my buttons. I’m more offended by other blogger behavior than a few four letter words – although it gets annoying when a blogger does it too often (read on).
- As Rhys pointed out above there are often cultural considerations and words that have push my buttons are a quite normal part of the language of others. This is one reason that leads a lot of bloggers to be a little more conservative on the choice of whether to swear or not.
- Like many of the commenters on the previous post – I think swearing isn’t something that I like to see for the sake of it – but the occasional one in context to make a point and if it’s in the authentic voice of the blogger doesn’t phase me.
- Personally I don’t do swear on my blog (I can’t remember doing it anyway). For me it’s partly about blogging in an authentic voice (I rarely swear in normal life and when I do it’s when I’m pretty worked up. As I don’t generally blog when ‘worked up’ I don’t tend to swear).
- When it comes to swearing in comments on my blogs – I have allowed it in moderation when I feel it’s made with a point – however I also choose to make my blogs a place where all ages can participate and moderate some comments based upon language. I also find that the spam filters I use seems to kill off some comments based upon language also.
- I think if you’re writing a blog that is about raising your own profile or on some sort of business level then you probably should be even more careful. To me it’s like having any business – I’ve never been greeted in a restaurant or retail outlet with strong language, it wouldn’t make good business sense (in 99% of cases).
- The language you use on a blog either adds to or takes away from the brand you’re building. A blogger wanting to build a blog up needs to look at their objectives and ask themselves whether swearing takes them closer to the objectives or not. I have met bloggers who would argue both ways on this point.
They are just some of my initial thoughts on the topic but this post is more about you and what you think. Vote in the poll above and let us know why you answered the way that you did in comments below.
I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone votes.