There are 2 writers I admire deeply who litter their prose with foul language. One is the great James Kelman; if you don’t understand Glaswegian dialect, don’t even bother reading, but trust me, he’s brilliant. The other is a well known blogger who shall remain nameless because I do not want this to be a defense/attack on said blogger. As I stated, I admire them; they, however, are the singular exception I make for accepting vulgarity in online writing.
I swear a lot in real life; the honest-to-God truth is that my father was a truck driver. And I spent more than a decade in the carpet industry, where to swear was to speak. I am not offended in the slightest by cursing in everyday language. James Kelman’s use of cursing lends a gritty realism that is necessary for his subject matter. The blogger I admire often shocks the reader with their color. I understand the reason both utilize vulgarity, but before you do, think long and hard.
Here are two reasons I strongly advocate that you refrain from cursing in your blog or marketing materials:
- The digital world is anything but private; simply ask Randi Zuckerberg or the Storify Co-Founder who is having his online lunch handed to him for the recently discovered practice of publishing private Facebook posts. Do you want future clients and/or employers coming across your crassness?
- The written curse word usually comes across as lazy and unimaginative.
This image of the incredible Maggie Smith was floating around Facebook this week:
Violet is, as always, correct.
Cursing is not clever or witty, and it doesn’t make your brand hip or cool. Your marketing language needs to communicate your message clearly, tell the reader how you will benefit them, pull their heartstrings, or whatever the goal of your campaign is. Great copywriters can use language to communicate and stir emotions; they do not have to rely upon vulgarity to do so.
The chance that you will offend using crass language is so much greater than anything positive that may come of it… even in your conversational and relaxed blog space.