You’d think after my blog resulted in 24-hour detainment that I’d take a hard look at my content. I mean, if you’re Gen Y, you’ve heard this a thousand times: “Be careful what you put online. It’s there forever.” Yes. Thank you, Grandma.
Even if you’re not Gen Y though, you’ve heard horror stories of people putting things online and get fired/arrested/murdered in their sleep. A few months ago I came across this post on Lamebook:
My buddy Richie already tore this chick a new one, so I’ll refrain from spewing how UTTERLY STUPID this was. I’m sure the girl knows that already and the lessons are pretty obvious. Keep in mind that Google Alerts means anything you write about a company will show up in their inbox and if you’re looking for a job, maybe don’t come across as completely unprofessional. Be smart, people.
I’m Still Effing Credible
Occasionally someone tells me to tone down my language because it “undercuts my credibility,” but I feel like there are so many social media blogs, that’s it’s really a relationship to the blogger, that makes you stand out.
My new buddy and Pajama Job Hunter, John Patten, wrote this post, and while he wrote some AMAZING things about me, this is my (second) favorite bit:
I want to do business with people who have a sense of humor, a fun personality, AND who know their stuff. You may be ranked #1 in your field, but if you’re as exciting as C-SPAN3, then I’m going to take a peek at the #2 and #3 person to see if there’s a pulse hidden in there among all the Excel spreadsheets.
I 100% agree with John, but also realize that not everyone likes my personality. I bet every day people read something of mine and immediately leave because they’re offended by my language or hate the way I write. But do you know what? That happens to EVERYONE. Every day I click out of blogs because I think they’re boring, redundant, or just don’t grab my attention. Every day we close our browsers because we don’t like something. We can’t please everyone so might as well be ourselves.
More on the Immigration Ordeal
During my detainment drama, a friend said, “This situation you’re in is the perfect example of why you need to pay better attention to what you write. If the immigration officers see you cursing, they might not be so eager to help.”
Really? Really? They’re deporting me because I drop the f-bomb occasionally?
I get where she’s coming from, I really do. So maybe it’s my youth or naivety, but if writing “fuck” acts as fodder for an immigration official to deport me, then, well, FUCK THAT.
Honestly, the effect of swearing is an interesting phenomenon. NPR recently wrote, “Using swear words at the right time can pack an ‘emotional wallop’ that ordinary words just don’t have.” Definitely, but why does doing it mean I’m also suddenly less credible? Why does my language have any bearing on whether or not I’m allowed in a country?
There’s a discussion going on at Brazen Careerist about blog language, and I’ve heard most of their arguments before. Apparently swearing:
- Proves you have bad vocabulary. If you can only think of “crap” to describe your feelings, then you obviously haven’t mastered the English language.
- Offends your readers. I’m sure it does, but I’ve got a potty mouth in real life so I’m just being authentic. Why should I cater to you if you won’t like me in person anyway? Wondering why don’t I stop swearing all together? Come on guys, are you asking me to change my personality? Should we all just act the same because we don’t want to offend someone? Ugh, this argument is boring me now.
This post isn’t just about swearing though, it’s about blog censorship in general. I write about my career, my personal life, my travels, my clients, along with general advice where I try to be useful. Together this makes for a blog that has gotten me far: I’ve made new friends, started a solo career, become more outgoing… If I were inauthentic and tried to please everyone I wouldn’t have the readership I do and I love each and every one of you for sticking with me.
My blog serves its purpose. If I were applying for a “real job” I would probably tone it down. If I weren’t trying to get clients I would probably up the ante. But right now my clients are amazingly fun people who have potty mouths themselves and are great to work with. When I meet readers in real life, you know what to expect. I’m passionate about what I do, enthusiastic, a little scrappy, honest as all hell, and will under no circumstances apologize for that. I would happily be appealing in Iceland right now otherwise.