Only I didn’t say “Fudge.”

“I said THE word, the big one, the Queen Mother of dirty words, the ‘F-dash-dash-dash’ word!“

We watched the bolts scatter through the air and could feel Ralphie’s frustration as he let out the word that would lead to his soap filled downfall later that evening. And really, who among us has not had that moment ourselves?

This post is about profanity.

More specifically, the use of profanity in social media, but don’t worry. Just because it is about profanity, it doesn’t mean I will be using profanity. (Having said that, I will be fighting urge to link to “George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television” until the minute this is posted. I won’t…but I want to) It was an easy choice for me to decide to never use profanity in my blogging and social media. I am representing Thill Logistics and its entire staff and clients, I keep it clean. Have I been known to “go blue” offline? F@%k yeah. (haha – gotcha!)  When representing the company, I choose to tone it down to keep with  Thill’s brand identity. When I started at Thill, I extended my ban on blue to include the content of others. I would not even retweet a blog post if it had a single string of dashes in it. I have since loosened up on that rule, if a post is one I want to share, I will share it, even if there is some profanity in it.

I see F-Bombs and the like popping up periodically in my streams all day long on both Facebook and Twitter. Personally, it is not something I have a problem with. In fact one of my favorite bloggers Erika Napoletano (Redhead Writing) peppers her posts with some of the saltiest language, and it works. For her, it is part of her persona and her readers accept and embrace it. Some most interesting people I follow on Twitter also happen to have a blue streak, I just don’t re-share the extra blue.

Whether or not to G-rate what you say in social media depends on a few variables:

  • Do you have a case of “Sailor Mouth”? If you can’t make it through a conversation without a few “sentence enhancers” then it will most likely carry over into your social media.
  • Are you representing a business, a product, another person or a brand? If you are representing someone/something else, remember to keep it clean. If it is your brand, you can choose how you speak. If you are working for someone else, keep in mind the atmosphere around you and also the reputation of the brand. One rouge Tweet and you could be trying to dig out of a heap of trouble.
  • Your community. How do the people you communicate with speak? Do the people in your circles even care? If not do what you will.

What is your perspective on the more colorful phraseology in life?

Note: As this post was sitting in Paul’s editing queue, this post came out by Shelby Sapusek about her experience in a similar situation.  

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About Carrie Keenan

About The Author: Carrie Keenan is the Social Media Community Manager for Thill Logistics, Inc. out of Neenah, WI. (@CarrieJKeenan. @ThillLogistics) As a professional whose primary responsibility is working in digital media and audience building, Carrie has a lot of insight and information to share about how to professionally represent your organization across the web. Connect with Carrie via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn
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